Played at Villa Park, the 2012 Charity Shield went to the champions, deservedly so, outplaying a pretty similar Chelsea to the one we saw last season in terms of style and what they try to accomplish in the match. Manchester City won 3-2 with goals from Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri, while the FA Cup holders were mostly hurt by the sending off of Branislav Ivanovic.
But even with 11 men, there was nothing to see from a team that their manager said he wants to start winning with style this season. Having Juan Mata and Eden Hazard doesn’t mean you suddenly play creative football if the rest of your team aren’t up for it. Fernando Torres took advantage of the first real good opportunity he had, switching feet cleverly and quickly in front of Costel Pantilimon in the City goal.
A reckless slide from Branislav Ivanovic clipped his Serbia teammate Aleksandr Kolarov, leaving Chelsea with 10 men and Ivanovic out of competition for probably 3 matches. Manchester City controlled the first half, but Petr Cech had no problem handling whatever was thrown at him, Chelsea living the complete City control in the match.
But City, unlike Barcelona and Bayern Munich last season, had no problem facing a defensive Chelsea team, still caught between conceptions, without the right kind of personnel for any kind of style. John Terry remains a huge weakness at his current ability, making way too many mistakes and mistimed decision and lunges.
It was Yaya Toure with a nice finish from the edge of the box that put City back in the match, deservedly, finding the corner of the net, doing exactly what the book says on Petr Cech – Shoot low. Carlos Tevez followed suit six minutes later with a nice dribble across the edge of the box, shooting to the top of the net with a brilliant goal . Aleksandr Kolarov, maybe City’s best player on the day, set up Samir Nasri’s third goal that put the game beyond of reach for Chelsea. They did get a goal back by Ryan Bertrand after an awful mistake from Pantilimon, but it was too late and too little.
Conclusions? After Roberto Mancini whined and whined he finally got to purchase someone – Jack Rodwell from Everton, although few believe that the young midfielder will get too many chances in the City lineup, just like Adam Johnson never got. Manchester City, without their full lineup, are at the moment a bit above the rest of the competition, even without any new players. In fact, it may be quite helpful early on, with no adaptation period for anyone.
Chelsea? A lot of talk, but Roberto Di Matteo doesn’t have the right tools at the moment to turn Chelsea into an attractive-playing team, as it seems Eden Hazard will need more than a few matches to settle with a new team in a much harder league. The old guard, which lost Didier Drogba, is still here, and the transition combined with a run at the title will be far from a smooth one, and it’ll be much harder surprising teams with the style from last year, especially as there were no improvements to on defending side of the team.