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Ancelotti strikes first blow

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Phil McNulty | 08:10 UK time, Monday, 10 August 2009

Wembley's desire for spectacle means that pyrotechnics come as part of the package before and after every showpiece game - but it was the fireworks provided in between by Chelsea and Manchester United that revealed the Community Shield's sub-plot.

Chelsea's victory on penalties does not count as a defining moment in shaping the forthcoming Premier League season. It was, however, an early psychological blow that both of these heavweights were, on this feisty and entertaining evidence, desperate to land.

Carlo Ancelotti's new charges have already been uncovered by Sir Alex Ferguson as the biggest threat to his hopes of a fourth successive title, a claim that also allowed him to apply his first verbal pressure point to Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

And with Chelsea intent on making an early statement on behalf of their Italian coach and prove Ferguson's point, Wembley played host to a confrontation devoid of the charity traditionally associated with the occasion.

patriceevra.jpgThe prime example came with 20 minutes left and the score at 1-1. Patrice Evra was felled by a blunt, not to mention highly illegal, intervention by Chelsea substitute Michael Ballack.

As Evra lay on the turf referee Chris Foy, who had stopped the game in similar circumstances earlier, allowed play to progress to the point where Frank Lampard put Chelsea in front.

Cue fury from Manchester United - and a burning sense of injustice that was etched into every fibre of Wayne Rooney when he equalised with virtually the last kick of normal time.

Chelsea went on to claim victory with an emphatic penalty performance, but this was clearly a game that meant something to both sides and both managers. This had an extra layer of importance, and occasional ill-feeling, over and above the usual curtain-raising fare.

And this is why both Ancelotti and Ferguson can take something away from Wembley as they make their final tweaks before the serious Premier League business begins.

Ancelotti gave Chelsea the opportunity to familiarise themselves with his diamond formation against elite opposition - and run through the final checks that all his team's most important parts are in good working order.

He declared himself happy with his day, happy with his first month and happy with his team. We can deduce from this, then, that Carlo is happy.

Ancelotti's sense of satisfaction will be burnished further by confirmation that Lampard's priceless ability to arrive in goalscoring positions remains as perfectly-tuned as ever, while John Terry's continued presence is clearly a source of joy and inspiration to Chelsea's fans.

The added bonus was the fitness and influence of Ricardo Carvalho, who equalised Nani's early goal for United as well as emphasising exactly why Jose Mourinho is so keen to lure him to Inter Milan with an assured display.

Terry and Carvalho, for all the turbulence that surrounded their summer, remain Chelsea's best central defensive combination, while Ashley Cole simply picked up where he left off last season.

Didier Drogba, new contract safely signed, also demonstrated why Chelsea are happy to forgive his foibles and eccentricities with another show of nuisance value that harried United keeper Ben Foster into distraction under the close inspection of England coach Fabio Capello.

benfoster.jpg

In other words, if Chelsea keep their major players fit and respond to the urgings of Ancelotti as they did to Guus Hiddink during his short and stellar reign rather than Luiz Felipe Scolari, then Ferguson's sense of how to detect a title threat may be proved correct.

Ferguson accepted that Chelsea's win "won't do them any harm" - how much good it will do them remains to be seen.

United will take solace from a vibrant first 45 minutes and a resilient response to going behind, plus the fact that Ferguson's line-up wore a more experimental appearance than Chelsea's.

The main disappointment, apart from defeat itself, was the dislocated shoulder suffered by Nani after the Portugal winger, so often overshadowed by his more illustrious countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, had played with rich promise and real purpose.

Nani scored and tormented Branislav Ivanovic to the point where his interval removal was inevitable, so it was galling for Ferguson to see him depart with his shoulder cradled in a makeshift sling.

Dimitar Berbatov showed glimpses of quality, but Rooney's goal provided the most telling signpost towards the direction United are heading this season in the post-Ronaldo era.

With Ronaldo gone, Rooney's importance cannot be over-estimated and his composed finish, cutting through the heart of Chelsea's central defence on to Ryan Giggs' astute pass, has to be a taste of things to come.

He has the stature and confidence to take on the task of filling the gaps left by Ronaldo, and the centre of United's attack provides the territory where he can do it.

Michael Owen, a signing with all the makings of a masterstroke in my opinion, made a brief appearance, getting booked for deliberate handball and moving around the margins of the latter stages of the game.

Owen will improve with starts, which Ferguson clearly intends to give him, and will provide serious competition for Berbatov as Rooney's aide up front.

It was an uncomfortable afternoon for keeper Foster, hoping to press his claims with United and England this season, but Ferguson hinted that he is currently under-cooked when it comes to game time.

Foster has, however, shown his rich promise in the past, and Ferguson's public show of confidence suggests he is the man to replace the injured Edwin van der Sar.

Ferguson, result and the controversial Lampard goal apart, was in sanguine mood, dismissing suggestions he needs Valencia pair David Silva and David Villa to replace Ronaldo - "not at 50 million I don't".

He even aimed a jab at Ballack after he was on the receiving end of a rattling challenge that wrongly earned an already aggrieved Evra a yellow card, dead-panning: "Ballack didn't complain...and that's unusual."

A major talking point in the aftermath of the game was Lampard's goal and the decision to allow the game to continue while Evra lay injured.

"Grey area" was the phrase correctly used by Ferguson, who understood the problems of applying this rule for both referees and players.

The fear expressed by Manchester United's manager was that while there are cases when players are genuinely injured, you will also have the gamesmanship of those who will hit the deck in a bid to halt an opposition attack.

Fair point this - so it would appear the only workable outcome is to trust the referee to make the call, albeit accompanied by the element of human error that makes this imperfect. There is no foolproof answer to the conundrum.

It all provided a lively and contentious end to a lively and contentious Community Shield, whetting the appetite perfectly for the start of the new Premier League season.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Fantastic game last night. After this display by both teams they should have been allowed to keep it for 6 months each. Chelsea will no doubt be the main rival for UTD. However a very poor display by the referee as usual. How did he miss that elbow from Ballack??? And what a disgrace Ballack is to football??? I think the FA and FIFA should take actions, not only on the player but the referee as well. I accept the fact that referees will make mistakes and miss certain things but something as blatant as this and when he was clearly in line with the action??? The referee should be suspended for a whole year as well as Ballack. This kind of severe action will possibly wipe such woeful act away from football..

  • Comment number 2.

    Ferguson has had so much to say already - and whilst he has never been a shrinking violet, I think that there are some genuine signs that his age is catching up with him. He was wrong yesterday, and some of his pres-season tirades, had they come from anyone else but Ferguson, would have led to FA charges, before a ball has been kicked...

    I think that he is feeling the pressure far more than previously, and it is only a matter of time before he goes "beyond the pail" - all I hope is that the FA have the nerve to do the right thing when the time comes.

    There was no contact with Evra's face/head - and he was clearly over-exaggerating the impact of Ballack's challenge - obvious "gamesmanship", and when a referee does eventually fail to stop the game for a serious injury, simulation like this will be to blame. He wasn't hurt, yet chose to roll around holding his head. Ferguson's reaction is just another example of him losing touch with reality. The referee was absolutely right to let play continue.

    I think that if United hit the front early on and stay there (a distinct possibility), then Ferguson may be able to reel himself in adequately. Otherwise, well, pull up a chair, get some popcorn, and enjoy the show...

  • Comment number 3.

    First comment.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Make no mention of the fact that Evra was rolling around the floor as if he'd been shot. I know Ballack did the same thing and the referee did stop play but I'd like to see players being penalised for trying to stop play like this when clearly they're not really injured.

  • Comment number 6.

    I personally think that Nani could have played mediocre and there would still be 'hope' for him filling Ronaldo's boots... I thought as usual he delayed crosses too long by turning or stepping over one more time as he always does.. strikers can't time their runs when a winger plays in that fashion..

    Carrick and Fletcher continue to impress together which I thought would never work.

  • Comment number 7.

    If the ref allows an advantage, as he did as Evra was fouled, he cannot then award a free kick if Man Utd then lose the ball. The only mistake was not booking Ballack after the ball next went out of play......... When Chelsea scored.

  • Comment number 8.

    The whole debate about the Evra incident is ridiculous - it was Man U who carried on playing! Why didn't THEY put the ball out of play if they thought he was injured? The reason is that they were on the attack and hoping to score. It was only after they gave the ball away that they started complaining.

  • Comment number 9.

    He was not even injured! Why cant united just look and say we were beaten fairly and squarely? rooney was offside for his goal but no-one seem's to have brought that up! (surprise)

  • Comment number 10.

    The problem lies with precedents. Ballack went down in the second half for basically no reason, and the game was stopped. He was up in seconds. So even assuming that Chris Foy missed a blatant illegal challenge (which defies belief given his proximity and line of sight), he already set a precedent by stopping play when Ballack went down. And where Ballack slipped on his behind, Evra was clearly body checked at the very least (and I'm even giving Foy credit by calling it that). The fact that he didn't stop play is beyond me, since it was clearly a foul, Evra was clearly hurt, and there was no clear advantage to playing on (which is the only thing I can imagine justifying not calling the foul).

    I also thought the Berbatov yellow card on 3 mins was nonsense, that was worth a ticking off at best-certainly not the way to start what is meant to be a friendly game.

  • Comment number 11.

    Entertaining game with plenty of commitment and pace which was unusual for this fixture. Not sure what happened to Foster, his kicking (a quality that supposedly sets him apart from other keepers) was all over the place and while he made a good save from Drogba he could have done better for both of Chelsea's goals.

    Foy was being very deliberate in his "play on" gestures (which for most of the game did him credit in allowing the game to flow) but he didnt make the sign when evra was blocked by Ballack. While Man U still had the ball, although briefly, there was no signal from the ref to play on.

    Chelsea did what they were supposed to do and play to the whistle though every Chelsea player and Fan would probably have something to say if a goal was scored against them in such a way.

    In the end it was a nice curtain raiser which will have no impact on what will happen in the league but has whet the appetite for what is to come, roll on next week.

  • Comment number 12.

    UTD were more than happy to play on for the few seconds they had the ball after Evra went down. And he was up and about after the goal had been score so obviously was not injured by the knock.

  • Comment number 13.

    Here we go again, another 10 months of managers moaning about refs, other managers and antics of opposition players while claiming their own are angels. Oh ya, and they play a bit of football too.
    Summer must be nearing an end we wont be able to look at a paper for the next 10 months without reading about this nonsense.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    If 'charity' is the aim of this game do not put it so close to the start of the season.....put it at the end when all has been decided and the pressure is off.

  • Comment number 16.

    Whether the incident was a foul or not is debatable / questionable.

    However Alex Ferguson needs to look at his own players and the entire incident. After the incident between Evra and Ballack, the ball went to a Man United player. If he should have kicked the ball out so that his player could receive attention when he realised that the referee wasn't going to stop play. He chose to play on and subsequentky lost the ball to Chelsea from which they had scored the goal.

    Had the opposite happened i.e. Man U player continued play and scored, then no one would ne complaining.

  • Comment number 17.

    Had Man U scored while evra was rolling around, then the ref would have been praised. Man U only wanted a free kick after the advantage had been played and they lost the ball. It was obvious evra wasn't injured, and its his own fault if there's a gaping hole to be exploited at left back. Any team would take that opportunity. Shouldn't Fergie be blaming Evra for feigning injury to try and cheat a free kick, and Foster for allowing the ball to go in? Well played Chelsea.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mulvy2009

    "rooney was offside for his goal but no-one seem's to have brought that up! (surprise)"

    Probably because he wasnt offside.

  • Comment number 19.

    Ferguson is a top wind up merchant. He knows how to get under peoples skin and while I don't like it, I have come to expect it. It can actually be slightly amusing how he rubbishes other teams. It's all part of the show. So too I think is the temper. Actually having seen United play yesterday, and given the nature of the subs, I don't think they will win the whole lot this season. I completely disagree with Owen. I would loved to be proved wrong, but I just dont see it. How many games do you need pre season to be match fit and sharp. He isn't either it seems at the moment. Nani, will flourish now that big head has gone. If Ferguson is showing signs of loosing it, it's his insistence on keeping the likes of Neville, Scholes and to a lesser degree Giggsy. While Giggs still has something to give, I think the other two are past it.
    Fosters nerves in Wembley won't be an issue again this season. Ferguson will have a chat and settle him down. I do think we see a lot more drubbings this season due to Uniteds 'new' style of play.

  • Comment number 20.

    @9 Mulvy

    whether he was injured or not has nothing to do with it! It was a clear elbow to the chest and a red card. If your full back is flying down the wing during an attack and is then knocked to the ground in full view of the ref and no action is taken. I think you have the right to feel slightly aggrieved.

    And was Rooney offside? linesman and commentators didnt seem to think so.

  • Comment number 21.

    Off we go again. A new season but nothing changes. Alex Ferguson still blaming the referee when the fault lies with the players. Ballack deliberately blocked Evra who then exaggerated the situation. Alex blames the ref because he knows that at some time during the season his own players will act like Ballack did. Ancellotti states in his TV interview that Chelsea players always stop when a player is injured - no doubt his English will improve but always is a long time and certainly more than the 5 mins he has been as the club. The game screams out for a Brian Clough who will hopefully see it like it really is and be happy to tell it to everbody who wants to listen. Football seems to be full of frightened people too scared to tell the truth.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think the biggest indicator to come out of the game was again the standard of refereeing.

    People can sometimes forgive wrong decisions - what they cannot do though is allow inconsistancies which are bascially unexplainable. Chris Foy has done himself no good - I doubt he'll be getting a cup final in the near future.

    http://www.worldfootballcolumns.com

  • Comment number 23.

    Entertaining match. It was also good to see a bit of needle creeping into the "friendly". These players care. Evra and Rooney lost their cool but Rooney seems at last able to channel that extra aggression in a positive way. He really has matured.

    Ballack can be a great player at times but he has a predilection for gamesmanship and "professionalism". He does it all the time and how he continually gets away with it is amazing. But he does it with a smile and must be acutely aware of where the ref is looking.
    However, he has now put himself in the spotlight and this will have an impact on his "game" for the rest of the season.

    In contrast United's injuries are temporary and in that sense I think it is actually United who have come out of this game in better shape

  • Comment number 24.

    Ballack is a total disgrace, he is always the catalyst for bad feeling and consequential discipliniary problems. United got no advantage after Evra was body-checked/elbowed/fore-armed so the referee got this 100% wrong. A shame that a good game, for a worthy cause will be remembered for the wrong reasons as a result of a cart-horse in the Chelsea midfield.

  • Comment number 25.

    Simplest solution would be to do like they do in rugby and just allow the physio to come on whilst the ball is in play.

    Ferguson should try playing in the lower leagues for a bit where the officials really don't have a clue, then at least he might be thankful for small mercies!

    Have Man U ever lost a game and not had Fergie raging at the ref afterwards? He's become quite a cliche to be honest.

  • Comment number 26.

    Saw the Man U players surrounding the ref again at every opportunity, thought this sort of intimidation was going to be clamped on

  • Comment number 27.

    Why not allow the physio on to assess (and treat) an injury whilst play is still going on? Quick signal from the ref, on comes the physio. he can signal the ref/lino to stop play if the player has to come off and be replaced.

  • Comment number 28.

    As per usual, the "lets have a pop at SAF's age mob are out in force, Mat_Bakus, makes all sort of incorrect points.

    I listen to the 606 phone in last night and I was laughing my head off. United have been written off already.

    We have barmpots like Mat saying SAF is showing his age and then know nothings on 606 last night. Did nobody watch the game? The first half saw Chelsea ripped apart, so much for the missing Ronaldo. The second half they clearly got their act together and were the much better team. But there is the nub. United lost one excellent player and one good sub over the summer, what did chelsea loose? Now correct me if I'm wrong, had yesterdays game been a league game it would have been a point each. It wasn't it was a friendly and they won on pens, but the fact remains that they have lost no players and yet over 90 mins they still could not beat us. Moreover, I best CB was out and it is unlikely that Nani will start in favour of Valencia.

    As a United fan, I am more than happy with what I saw yesterday, the rest should be worried. Chelsea had a full, fit squad which has been togther for nearly three years, OK they have a new manager which takes time to bed in, but make no bones about it, United looked good yesterday. Bring ti on.

  • Comment number 29.

    One thing that does make me laugh was Ferguson's previous comment about Chelsea's team getting older, which the press lapped up naturally.

    Several times now, Chelsea have gone behind but get stronger as the match goes on. The sign of an 'old' team? Hardly.

    Then, with Man U losing, which bright young whipper snappers did Ferguson bring on to sort things out? Scholes, Giggs and Owen!

    Can we just put this 'old' team business to bed and forget about it now.

    (As for the incidents, in the match, let's not make them out to be more than they were. Some of the 'grey area' quotes are a bit sensationalist. Ultimately, if players played more honestly, you'd probably have better officiated games. Today it may have been Man U on the end of a decision, tomorrow it'll be their opponents.)

  • Comment number 30.

    It was an enjoyable, closely-contested game yesterday. 2-2 was a fair result and Chelsea took much better penalties.

    Fact. Refereee stopped play when Ballack went down.
    Fact. As the referee did that, he should have stopped play when Evra went down.
    Fact. Ref. had a pretty poor game.

    Everything else surrounding the even is irrelevant.

    Great finish by Rooney. Fletcher had a good game too. Drogba is such a pain, must be horrible playing against him.

    Bring on next week!

  • Comment number 31.

    I am amazed people are defending Ballack. I have a particularly strong dislike of both Chelsea and Man Utd so feel very qualified to comment without bias. Chelsea were on the break - Evra was looking to regain his position - Ballack clearly steps across him to impede him. Yes Evra may have made the most of it - yes he probably wasn't hurt - yes there probably wasn't much contact with his face - but all that doesn't matter. Ballack clearly intended to prevent him running back - that is cynical and deliberate foul play to give his team an advantage. In my book that has to be at least a yellow card. There is no ex use for Chris Foy either. He was close to the action and it was in his line of vision. I would love to hear his view on it.

    Phil - your comment about a psychological blow - is a very big over statement. It's the Charity Shield! No team won it over 90 minutes. Both teams will take positives. It's nice for Chelsea to win it but it really doesn't mean anything at all! The only psychological damage may be to Evra's confidence at taking penalties. I'm not sure I've ever seen a worse penalty.

  • Comment number 32.

    As a neutral (villa fan) I enjoyed the game, nice to see both teams having a competative mentality despite it only being the Shield. Think United looked more 'fluidic' (might have created a new word there), Chelsea seem 'stodgy' in midfield and have done for the past few seasons. Drogba and Anelka kept taking each others space, not sure they can play together. United will score a lot more goals than Chelsea this saeson. Rooney looked fantastic, if he stays fit he will score bucket fulls. Great to see him enjoying himself, unlike last season.

    Just out of interest who will be United's main penalty taker this season now Ronaldo has gone?

  • Comment number 33.

    20. At 09:42am on 10 Aug 2009, eric_3_king wrote:
    @9 Mulvy

    whether he was injured or not has nothing to do with it! It was a clear elbow to the chest and a red card. If your full back is flying down the wing during an attack and is then knocked to the ground in full view of the ref and no action is taken. I think you have the right to feel slightly aggrieved.

    And was Rooney offside? linesman and commentators didnt seem to think so.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I hope you see the irony in your comment.

    In the first paragraph, you disagree with the ref, and seem to think your judgement is better than his.

    In your second paragraph, you completely hide behind the linesman, whether he is right or wrong!

    As for commentators, when I hear one of them state 'for me it was .....' I think to myself, I don't care if it is for me, for you or any of the chuckle brothers, what is it for the rules. Now, Rooney's position was very tight and I CAN see why some people think it was offside. However, since that doesn't suit you, you've chosen to close one eye when making your comment.

  • Comment number 34.

    Fergie usually has a point about the complaints he makes about refereeing decisions. Clearly he is not one to sit back and say nothing about it.

    Although, he has been in the game for so long, surely we have to stop reading the "Fergie fumes at referee" headline after every game Manchester United lose.

    I think we got the point.

  • Comment number 35.

    United faded badly after a very good start and after half time especially lacked in midfield with Carrick the main culprit ! Nani partially at fault for the first goal with a lazy attitude, he should have picked up Carvalho and needs to have a bit more awarenesst if he wants to keep his place. Chelsea quite deservedly scored though and got back in to the game, however there was some very curious refereeing which seemed to favour Chelsea especially for the second Chelsea goal. I suppose it's just a typical referee showing the same lack of consistency by applying two completely opposite decisions to essentially the same type of incident. As usual !! Both involving Ballack and both being in his favour, he constantly and consistently gets away with cheating !! which I suppose is typical of his background. Highlight for me was Rooneys goal ! beautifully taken, ON-SIDE and timely...!! However for me the jury is still out on Owen. I never liked him and he still lacks poise and falls over too much....although I am sure he will steal a few winners now and then for us......as much as I detest Ballack... Chelsea ended up deserved winners !!

  • Comment number 36.

    Dependabledennis

    Who is ti ? and why was he left on the bench ?

  • Comment number 37.

    The football season must have started again, Man U fans already winging because they’ve been beaten and this simply shouldn’t be allowed by the FA and then there’s Fergie pumping his gums about a bad refereeing decision. For god sake how does the man get away with it, FA give him a 6 month touchline ban to show you have some bottle.

  • Comment number 38.

    THE REFEREE MADE THE RIGHT CALL 100%.

    He didn't stop the game because

    1. He believed that Evra was embellishing and feigning his 'injury'.
    2. Prior to that there were skirmishes (dish and take) between Evra & Ballack. He saw those shenanigans.
    3. His belief was reinforced when he saw Evra's teammates were not concerned about his 'injury' and kept on playing for some secs. United players (cognizant of the feigned injury and playacting) were bunch of hypocrites to complain only when they lost the ball. Here they should be carded for trying to con the referee.
    4. Evra is a disgrace just like Rivaldo.

    Here I would say United players got hoisted by their own petard. Shame on them to blame the loss on Ballack and for us to malign a fine outstanding REFEREE (btw not a Norse).

    5. Beetroot Fergie as usual blustery trying to game referees and United fans and sicofantes. I trust the media are not that easily conned.
    6. CA is a class act. Complain about Rooney's offside?

    BTW I'm not a Chelski fan.

  • Comment number 39.

    End of the day we are still World Champions and the Premier League Title Holders. The charity shield would have been a bonus but it was not to be. Am happy we did not get beat during the 90minutes. That would have put a dent into our confidence. Penalties are Lotteries. You win you loose. Atleast we won the BIG one 2 years ago. Thats what counts. Still see Chelsea as the main threat. Liverpool and Arsenal will be out of it come November. This is when Benitez and Wenger (If Arsenal get through v celtic) will be making Champs League the Priority.

  • Comment number 40.

    32 Cymruvilla1

    United will score a lot more goals than Chelsea this saeson. Rooney looked fantastic, if he stays fit he will score bucket fulls. Great to see him enjoying himself, unlike last season.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chelsea and Man U scored 68 league goals each last season. Chelsea's top scorer was Anelka, Man U's was Ronaldo. One has left their respective club.

    With that in mind, how do you arrive at your conclusion?

    (Also, which bit of Rooney's usually mouthy tirade's against the ref demonstrates that he was enjoying himself?)

  • Comment number 41.

    I see it's another season of blueburns comments again, where is NikosBG?

  • Comment number 42.

    Great Game, not really fussed we lost as penalties is just a lottery, did think play should have been stopped an whether Evra played up or not he was clearly fouled, no debate there, an why is everyone slagging SAF, get a grip any manager wouldnt have been happy with the incident....but any way sh/t happens, bring on the new season......

  • Comment number 43.

    # 41 collie21 wrote:

    I see it's another season of blueburns comments again, where is NikosBG?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What do you mean by that?

  • Comment number 44.

    dependabledennis -

    Let me spell it out for you, as clearly you have not got my point.

    Ferguson's ability as a tactician and man manager are not in doubt - but he made so many pre-season comments about so many teams and players - and many of them reflected on him very poorly. My point is that the pressure is getting to him in a way that it hasn't before. There were signs last season - the Allardyce collusion (and I gather he is still banging on about the "it's over" gesture by Benitez that clearly never was) was an embarrassing sign of what is to come.

    Don't tell me I know nothing just because you were unable to read my post properly - I made it clear that United have a great chance this season - I haven't written them off at all...and, I have yet to see someone who has! How can you write off a team that has just one three PLs in a row?

    Oh, and by the way, if I have made "all sorts of incorrect points", why don't you list them?

    Ferguson has all the ability that has made him so successful intact - but he will not handle the pressure this season if things don't go to plan...you watch and see...

  • Comment number 45.

    Mr Blue Burns

    As far as I am aware level is on-side....and benefit of the doubt is given to the attacker....and to me he looked level with Cole....however even if he was off side, it's irrelevant...

    If the linesman made a mistake for the Rooney goal then the ref made a mistake for Lampards...so..that makes it 1-1...

  • Comment number 46.

    Manchester United are looking great, but they should have slain chelsea after the nani goal United should have at least converted one of the chances which followed. Still not to sure who is going to play on the wings, Valencia had no impact, Nani looked good but his decision making is still to be worked on. Chelsea have not adapted to the new formation but still have that winning mentality.

  • Comment number 47.

    Firstly, if any Chelsea manager or player had said anything about the ref, they would get a touchline ban or at least, having to explain them to the FA. But Ferguson, of course not!
    Secondly Evra wasn't even hurt, the ref didn't need to stop it, he didn't even have a bleeding nose. Ok, Ballack shouldn't have done it, however Evra's tackle on Ballack later was a replica, if not worse, than the tackle Obi Mikel got sent of against Man Utd for a few seasons ago!

  • Comment number 48.

    IMHO, my observations are
    1. Fergie is a top WUM.
    2. We will see a lot of his 'beyond the pale' deportment.
    3. Kudos to referees and media for standing up against it.
    4. Bringing on Phil & Scholes (both English players are past their prime for top flight football) hopefully to influence the game or referee is consistent with (2) above.

    We will see more of this rubbish (1 to 4 above) and drubbings foisted on the good football citizens by Fergie and his sicofantes. If it were other managers they will have to face FA charges. A dubious beat that will continue on unless we confront it without FEAR or FAVOUR.

  • Comment number 49.

    You can tell when Wimbledon is upon us: shops start to display strawberries, cream teas and Pimms.

    You can tell when the Soccer/Football season is upon us because Fergie is on all media moaning about anything which does not result in a Manchester United goal. He has become tiresome to all neutrals.

    He was wrong, the ref was right. Yes Ballack did block Evra but he had not shot him.

    It wouldn't be too bad if managers occasionally came on and said how they would not have won a game but for a fortunate decision by a ref.

    Will Fergie be up there when his team are awarded a dodgy penalty at Old Traford or an off side goal at Liverpool? Don't wait too long in the hope of seeing him on TV, in the papers and online saying, "we only beat Liverpool because we were allowed a goal which was off side. But you win some you lose some".

    Oh, look I just heard that NASA are going to use Pigs on the next Shuttle flight.
    So, pigs will fly!

    ---------

  • Comment number 50.

    Soccerinteg

    maybe not a Chelsea fan but obviously an ABU....!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Just a point about Sir Alex Ferguson - and I know this will get a few swift responses from those who regard me as one of his staunchest defenders!!

    His on-field discussion with Chris Foy ended amicably, and I sat just a few yards away from him in his press conference and I would not describe his performance in that as either "fuming" or "furious".

    He pointed out the inconsistence of the referee in stopping the game, but he also outlined the problems he feels officials have with this particular issue. In fact I thought he came across as reasonable in his after-match briefing.

    What did United fans think of Ben Foster's performance? It was shaky and he could have done better for both goals, but Ferguson felt this was because he is still a little short of minutes in goal.

    Ferguson did, however, state his total trust in Foster so expect him to play against Birmingham next week.

  • Comment number 52.

    soccerinteg

    THE REFEREE MADE THE RIGHT CALL 100%.

    If that was the case, why didnt he signal "play on" like he had done for the entire game?

    Why did the ref offer no consistancy in when he was choosing to stop the game?

  • Comment number 53.

    YAWN. Is anybody else getting bored of Ferguson's persistent whinging over the past couple of months?

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    38. soccerinteg:

    "THE REFEREE MADE THE RIGHT CALL 100%."

    Spot on with everything you say. Great post!

  • Comment number 56.

    Same old whinging from Fergie. He would have whinged just the same if the ref had of blown up for the foul on Evra because United were on the ball and in his tiny mind it would have stopped them from some sort of 'clear goal scoring opportunity'.
    This is one of the reasons that I DREAD the start of the footy season. Over the course of the summer of sport you forget what a bunch of overpaid, pampered show ponies they are with little or no professionalism compared to almost any other sport you care to mention, be it amateur or professional.
    No footballer/ Manager/ 'Football man' (Joke term) has ever blamed themselves or a team mate for missing, say a goal chance (Although Harry Redknapp did it to Darren Bent last season.... and he threw his toys out of the pram!).
    Much easier is to blame the failure to get a result in a game on someone that can't answer back - the Ref.
    No ref's ever get everything right just like no footballer takes every chance but it's poor old 'so and so', i'll put my arm around him on the coach on the way home if he misses an open goal. However, if the ref fails to give a dubious pen or an off the ball foul then he's the scum of the earth and should never be put in charge of a match again. Ludicrous mentality, but unfortunately this is the kind of mentality of most 'Football men/ people'.
    Enough said really.

  • Comment number 57.

    Good point about Sir Alex Phil, but as usual SAF/United haters exagerrate and blow everything out of proportion and only hear what they want to..and have their judgement impaired by blind hatred.....as for Foster he isn't good enough IMO...no good with his feet....a la Bosnich.....and we know what happened to him......look for the other bloke to start next week maybe ? ...

  • Comment number 58.

    40. At 10:39am on 10 Aug 2009, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    32 Cymruvilla1

    United will score a lot more goals than Chelsea this saeson. Rooney looked fantastic, if he stays fit he will score bucket fulls. Great to see him enjoying himself, unlike last season.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chelsea and Man U scored 68 league goals each last season. Chelsea's top scorer was Anelka, Man U's was Ronaldo. One has left their respective club.

    With that in mind, how do you arrive at your conclusion?

    (Also, which bit of Rooney's usually mouthy tirade's against the ref demonstrates that he was enjoying himself?)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not concerned about what happened last season, IMO I think Ronaldo's departure has actually 'freed up'United a little and they will be even better going forward. They also play wider than Chelsea, and although Chelsea will play with a diamond shape up the middle, I think it will cramp them up the middle and they will find it harder to score.

    With reference to last season, Anelka played a lot of the time without Drogba, which gave him the space to score a lot of goals. I think as I stated that they will not find it easy to play together, and if I remember rightly, when Drogba plyaed at the end of last season, Anelka didn't score so many on a goals to game ratio, and that wasn't because Drogba was making up the shortfall, it just doesn't work for the both of them together.

    Chelsea will grind their way to wins, perhaps bullying teams into submission is putting it too strongly, United will pull teams all over the pitch and will beat them that way.

    As far as Rooney is concerned, I don't particularly like what he does with his mouth, but he is a fantastic striker, he was everywhere yesterday and always wanted the ball, that's why I said he was enjoying himself, not being stuck out on the wing like last season. And before any more comments are made about Rooney's attitude, please don't forget Drogba's tirade on the referee and through TV camera's after the Chamnps League semi last season.


  • Comment number 59.

    Phil - your comments about Ferguson being reasonable are somewhat in contrast with the headline on the BBC website...

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    57. At 11:02am on 10 Aug 2009, UNITED in Victory ! wrote:
    Good point about Sir Alex Phil, but as usual SAF/United haters exagerrate and blow everything out of proportion and only hear what they want to..and have their judgement impaired by blind hatred.....as for Foster he isn't good enough IMO...no good with his feet....a la Bosnich.....and we know what happened to him......look for the other bloke to start next week maybe ? ...

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Took the words out of my mouth.....

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm guessing Fergie didn't mind what happened in the Tottenham game in April when the ref gave his team an unfair decision. Ol' Red Nose isn't happy unless something is going his way. Seen it many times before......

    Anyway, well done the Blues! Nice to see you get your own back for the Champions League a year ago.

    (LFC fan in peace)

  • Comment number 63.

    lankybrain_8 , they hardly got there oen back.....champs league or charity sheild hmmmm

  • Comment number 64.

    Got no sympathy with Ferguson or Man U. Whilst I saw Evra go down like a sack of spuds, my view was from the other side of the ground. The TV pics I subsequently saw showed minimal contract with Evra (who has a grudge against Chelsea after Mowergate) and certainly not with his head. Chelsea correctly played to the whistle and the only weakness the ref showed was in his reluctance to book any United player for the subsequent intimidation they displayed.

    Foy is a poor official in any case.

  • Comment number 65.

    24. At 09:56am on 10 Aug 2009, OldRedBren wrote:
    Ballack is a total disgrace, he is always the catalyst for bad feeling and consequential discipliniary problems. United got no advantage after Evra was body-checked/elbowed/fore-armed so the referee got this 100% wrong. A shame that a good game, for a worthy cause will be remembered for the wrong reasons as a result of a cart-horse in the Chelsea midfield
    =========================================================================
    You had probably watched another match if you believe man utd didnt get an advantege. Were you sleeping when Rooney passed the ball to Carrick who then lost possesion?

    Mad Utd fans will always seek excuses whenever they lose anyway.

  • Comment number 66.

    My observations
    1. Fergie is a top class WUM. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack should have been sent off during the Community Shield match?. Gamemanship?
    2. He will continue with this 'beyond the pale deportment'.
    3. As usual bringing on Phil and Scholes (IMHO, two English players beyond their primier playing days) trying to influence the game?
    4. Trying to blame the loss and malign and intimidate a FA Referee.
    5. We will continue to see this rubbish and cons foisted on good football citizens unless the media and FA seek to face it without FEAR or FAVOUR.
    6. Win it fair and square. Do not resort to strong arm and intimidating off field tactics and strategies. In close games a dubious call or non call favouring those clubs with financial and political muscles is not FAIR.

    BTW My prediction is that just like Liverpool last season, United will have a lot of draws because of absence of CR7(deadball specialist to convert all 'opportunities') this new season. More dubious and controversies calls will be manifested as a result. IMHO.

  • Comment number 67.

    Have to say though if looking at your title the only one to strike a blow was Ballack. Would hardly call losing the charity shield on penalties a blow.

  • Comment number 68.

    Give Foster a chance.

    The Manchester United defending was hardly top class for the second goal.

    --------

  • Comment number 69.

    I think Ben Foster was average at best, not even half as good as Edwin Van Der Sar. Also, getting two hands on Frank Lampard's shot he should have kept that out.

    If he has aspirations of being Englands Number 1, he has work to do.

    At this rate, Manuel Almunia will be Englands Number 1.

  • Comment number 70.

    Let's just put the whole Ballack/Evra issue to bed, the fact is Chris Foy was correct to play on as the context of the rules state at the present time. Yes he was inconsistant and should not have brought play back for Ballack's feigned injury beforehand but he was correct to play advantage and allow the game to flow. What should happen is to implement the same rule that is used in Rugby, and to bring the play back to the foul if no advantage can be found. The incident has overshadowed and distracted from what was, especially for the time of year, a very good game of football. I was very happy with the Utd display, thought we were the better team and, whilst admittedly we have lost our 'star' player in Ronaldo, we still have the best squad in the league. I was impressed, as I have been for the last 6 months, with Fletcher's performance, he has stepped up and done the job Hargreaves was bought to do with great poise. Berbatov too showed signs of thriving in the deeper role he will be playing this year and he is set to have a big season, mark my words on that. He is a fantastic player, with balance and a first touch like I haven't seen in a player since Zidane, and is sure to become the player all Utd fans should have had faith he would become last year (was not happy with the criticism of him from some parts of Old Trafford last season). Ironically I believe we will have a similar season to Liverpool last year, i.e. we'll beat our rivals/big teams (I think we'll take more points off the other big 3/4 than they will off us) but may struggle with the more resolute teams without Ronaldo's pace and directness to intimidate them into mistakes. That said, Gerrard and Torres won't stay fit for the whole season, and though Chelsea are strong with Essien back I feel the new formation will be found out away from home and would worry about Drogba since you never know what mood he'll turn up in. If nothing else the league rewards consistancy, something Drogba has rarely shown over his 5 years. Arsenal and City fight it out for minor scraps

  • Comment number 71.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the tackles surely Ferguson should be censured for his disgraceful verbal attack of the referee on the pitch at full-time!

  • Comment number 72.

    Jones 250 ....Fergies fumes/rages/explodes/implodes/whinges etc etc etc..... this is a red top mentality ..

    I don't know whether you lot noticed but it's fergies job to manage Manchester United hence YES he is perfectly entitled to and will continue to make comment (and complaint) about incidents in games involving the club....referees decisions, other managers comments, and in fact just about anything to do with football and Manchester United and I think you will also find that he didn't blame the ref for the loss...!! and as Phil pointed out also talked about the difficulty referees find with this type of incident....and also a manager generally will never be critical of a player in public !!

  • Comment number 73.

    Is there any chance anyone could actually discuss the twenty two + players on the pitch and the game, rather than griping and bellyaching about Ferguson? ..............Nope didn't so.

  • Comment number 74.

    #58 Cymruvilla1

    Fair comment. Still plenty of variables though to be able to say that Man U will outscore Chelsea.

    Chelsea strikers last year just did the job that was asked of them, broadly speaking. Drogba was out for alot of the first half of the season, Anelka stepped in a scored lots of goals.

    Drogba came back strongly in the second half of the season and scored some goals, and Anelka did still chip in.

    I don't know if they can play together, but it's worth the risk to find out.

    As for Rooney, yes, he is a fantastic footballer but that mouth of his. I agree that Drogba's rant(s) are nothing to be proud of but he seems to cop more flak for it than Rooney does.

    Finally, yes, I think Ronaldo leaving will free Man U up, but I'm not sure yet that it will necessarily result in more goals. Man U didn't have much down the wings yesterday apart from Nani in flashes. Park was, well, Parked (you see what I've done there? :-)) and Berbatov looked pretty similar to the Berbatov of last season.

    Early days, but nice to get the win just the same.

  • Comment number 75.

    # 40

    Mr Blue Burns:

    Chelsea and Man U scored 68 league goals each last season. Chelsea's top scorer was Anelka, Man U's was Ronaldo. One has left their respective club.

    With that in mind, how do you arrive at your conclusion?

    --------------------

    Hmmm, well doesn't it demonstrate something?
    You had your top scorer from the season prior, we didn't and guess what, it needed penalties to decide it. Getting the message?

    We matched your unchanged squad with a couple of players who IMO just aren't settled, ie Foster,Owen, etc.

  • Comment number 76.

    phil what do you feel about the ballack evra incidence?
    Clearly the referee gave an advantage to man u.
    If you look at the replay foy almost blew his whistle but hesitated as soon as he saw the ball fall to rooney who ignored his own player on the ground and played on sending a pass to another man u player with the hope of getting a goal. But they lost the ball to chelsea who went on to score.
    If anybody should have stopped the play it was rooney. He is a disgrace for going to complain to the referee after chelsea scored. Only prob is the ref should av at least given ballack a yellow card.

  • Comment number 77.

    Phil - your right about fergie. he didnt kick up a massive fuss and pointed out its hard for the referee. All these people commenting on fergie asking for a touchline ban etc are nothing but wind-up merchants trying to get a bite from a united fan.

    As for foster im not a fan, every game ive seen him play hes always looked a little shakey when under pressure and has made 1 or 2 errors. on another day yesterday he could have conceded 2 from dilly-dallying on the ball.

    Roll on sunday vs Birmingham, cant wait!!!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    As a fan of neither team, I would suggest that Chelsea would be the happiest. I would also think that Ferguson may be reassing the keeping situation - Foster looked shocking.

    Correct score predictions for the opening fixtures? http://sportales.com/soccer/english-premiership-correct-score-predictions-week-one-15809/

  • Comment number 79.

    UNITED_RED_DEVILS

    though Chelsea are strong with Essien back I feel the new formation will be found out away from home and would worry about Drogba since you never know what mood he'll turn up in. If nothing else the league rewards consistancy, something Drogba has rarely shown over his 5 years.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It's funny you should mention the Chelsea formation. Essentially, trying to use the full backs to provide width was something that Scolari started with. That got found out and many journalists acted like they knew it would fail all along (despite Chelsea's good start to the season.)

    Then, when Chelsea came back from their pre-season tour of the USA, in The Times there was a piece about the diamond formation that Chelsea were apparently using and the journalist seemed to be praising it!

    I'm not convinced by it, by itself, necessarily. However, in players like Zhrikov and Cole, for example, Chelsea have players that can give rise to a different shape.

    All in all, I would say that it will take a number of games, against different types of opposition before we know one way or another.

    (On a slight side note, Lampard wasn't given much space in the first half and Chelsea started slowly. In the second half, Chelsea's midfield and Lampard in particular, really got hold of the ball and created lots of danger around the Man U box.)

  • Comment number 80.

    Fair point this - so it would appear the only workable outcome is to trust the referee to make the call, albeit accompanied by the element of human error that makes this imperfect. There is no foolproof answer to the conundrum.

    -------------------------------

    thing is - there is no consistancy from refs

    when play was stopped becuase ballack went down THERE WAS NO REASON FOR THIS as ballack was CHEATING (NO INJURY AT ALL)to break down manu's attack

    AND

    when play WASN'T STOPPED for a BLATANT FOUL ON EVRA THAT THE REF MUST HAVE SEEN AS HE WAS STOOD RIGHT NEXT TO IT

    SO BASICALLY the ref stopped the game when no foul and didn't stop it when there was a foul - PATHETIC LITTLE REF

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    39. At 10:39am on 10 Aug 2009, bobsy123 wrote:
    ... Still see Chelsea as the main threat. Liverpool and Arsenal will be out of it come November. This is when Benitez and Wenger (If Arsenal get through v celtic) will be making Champs League the Priority.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Not if the good Citizens (Kops and Gunners' proxy) and Sparky has something to say.

  • Comment number 83.

    75. sam2samsam wrote:

    Mr Blue Burns:

    Chelsea and Man U scored 68 league goals each last season. Chelsea's top scorer was Anelka, Man U's was Ronaldo. One has left their respective club.

    With that in mind, how do you arrive at your conclusion?
    --------------------

    Hmmm, well doesn't it demonstrate something?
    You had your top scorer from the season prior, we didn't and guess what, it needed penalties to decide it. Getting the message?

    We matched your unchanged squad with a couple of players who IMO just aren't settled, ie Foster,Owen, etc.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think you have to go back and look at the context that I made my comment in. I was commenting on someone who had made the pronouncement that Man U were going to outscore Chelsea in the coming season.

  • Comment number 84.

    Can't believe people make such a fuss over Fergie's comments and make them headlines.

    Ben Foster cost United the match and Fergie is shielding him by publicly lambasting the ref. Foster sees Fergie's loyalty and will be determined to do his best for Fergie moving forward. He has done it time and time again and every time the press fall for it rather than writing what they should be about Foster (supposedly England's brightest young keeper) playing appallingly badly.

    If Chelsea's second hadn't gone in the game would have played out differently and could easily still have finished 1-1 or 2-2 leading to the penalties.

    The gripe at the ref is not so much that he made a mistake but that he allowed the game to stop for Ballack 5 minutes earlier. There is no arguement to this as it is clear for all to see.

    United seem to have a real issue finishing Chelsea off. Time and time again we get into good positions before letting them back into games through soft goals.

  • Comment number 85.

    All the players and managers are looking for is consistency. The previous occassions in the game when a player went down injured, whether it be serious or not, due to the fact it was a "friendly" the referee decided to stop play. However, on this occassion he didnt??

    Chelsea have no responsibility to put the ball out of play, and when on the break like they were, who can blame them? However, with Evra down injured, it left them 3 v 2 at the back and Lampard scored his goal from the vacant left back position.

    If the Ballack incident happened another 10 times this season, on every occasion he would receive a booking, and possibly 2 or 3 times it would be red. Surely its time for video evidence to come in. To punish players after the game if something like this goes unpunished during the game? Evra got booked for "intent" with his challenge, and although Ballacks elbow hit Evra's chest, surely thats a case for "intent" also??

    Apart from this, i thought it was a good game. Chelsea look to be adapting well to the diamond formation. United looked sharp, tho i still think Berbatov slows the play down when we are breaking to much. Park, Carrack and Fletcher continue to impress, and Owen made some supurb runs behind the defense that werent noticed..

    Should be a good season, Man Utd and Chelsea will be up there and i cant really see anyone else even getting close to them.

  • Comment number 86.

    I cannot understand what goes through Fergusons mind sometimes in these interviews. I am beginning to wonder if he knows himself. Is he honestly trying to solely blame the referee for not giving a foul AFTER Utd lost the ball?

    Have we all convieniently forgotten that the referee was playing the advantage FOR Utd and would no doubt have been commended for his decision had Utd scored themselves. I am also in little doubt that at least one or two of the Utd players would have also had words with him had he stopped the play straight away and halted their potential attack.

    In my opinion the rules for this sort of situation have been clouded by players of Evra and Drogbas ilk. I have no sympathy for Evra at all, I still have my doubts over the serverity of his "injury", but he is one of the worst offenders for play acting on the ground to stop play and get the opposition player into trouble. So for it to be him that is ignored by the ref is understandable, and he can have only himself and the repuation he has developed for himself to blame. Had that been Scholes or Ferdinand on the ground the ref may have been more inclined to stop the game knowing that these players are much much less likely to be pretending.

    I would also have been very interested to hear Fergusons comments had it been Drogba rolling around theatrically and Utd had broken away and scored. The rules still clearly need altering but once again the powers that be in football still seem to think that we live in yesteryear when players played with a bit more honour and if you went down you were injured. It is my belief that they should employ the same rules as in Rugby (as is so often the case Rugby seems the trailblaze the technological inovations whilst football lags beinhd in a sea of controversy) whereby when a player is injured the physio is allowed onto the field to treat them as the game continues.

    I have no doubt at all that this would eliminate all this faking injury nonesense as there would be no gain whatsoever for the player to stay down and roll around a bit. All it would bring would be a period of play with their team down to 10 men. The likes of Drogba, Evra, Ronaldo, et al would stay on their feet or get back up and get on with the game in no time at all and football would be better off for it.

  • Comment number 87.

    No. 74 - Mr Blueburns

    Fair comments, I think all in all it will once again be a tight race for the league which is always a good thing, think Chelsea will be much closer throughout the race, and if Torres and Gerrard stay fit, then Liverpool will be there abouts to.

    The one area United may struggle in is that Ronaldo always posed a threat from dead ball situations. Now they haven't got that, do they still have a threat in that area? Chelsea have never relied on that although Frankie Lamps may get a few. Not an obvious penalty taker comes to mind for United either. So is this the area they will fall down on? At least with Ronaldo, 1 in about every 4 free kicks from 25-30 yaers was a banker.

    Anyway, enjoyed the discussion, all the best to the Blues for the coming season ;-)

  • Comment number 88.

    Why once again was an excellent match spoiled by an inconsistent referee
    with the inability or the bottle to apply the rules effectively,if this lays down the benchmark for the coming season there's going to be a lot more furious managers,Ferguson was quite correct to point out to Foy where he went wrong,no malice there in how he went about it,somebody really wants to take to task the clown who is in charge of the refs,because this is a huge problem which he is unable to sort out.As for the match,in the first half Chelsea's ageing team were well outplayed,very disturbing for Ancelloti with no new signings,i'd be far from happy,as for Utd the team will eventually prove to be far better without Ronaldo because there will be a far better team work ethic,that's showing allready,thought Berbatov yesterday was excellent much better than last season and really up for it,so i don't think you Red fans have much to worry about,best of luck to both clubs for a good season,and lets hope the overpriced signings and overpaid players at Man City fall flat on their face,it will be what the club deserves for distorting the transfer market,and it will happen,just like at Real Madrid.

  • Comment number 89.

    Football's back! Players cheating by pretending injury/bad tackling; managers ranting at refereeing; fans contributing illiterate/tribal comments online. Sport? What's sporting about professional football?

  • Comment number 90.

    when does not ferguson fumes with ref after his team lose under rather questionable decision?
    in recent years, he seems to be in a position where he doesn't need to respect the referee/s. somewhat also can influence refs' decisions during the game, or during interval, i.e. i'd like to call it the 'second half incident' where referees decision went man u's way after fergie had visit their rest room during the break.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ballack is a disgrace to chelsea to be honest. Surley though one of the linesman would have seen ballack cheating. But i thought that nani did very well even tho he got injured and rooney and berbatov played well. Both sides where as good as one another yesterday and them and hopefuly not liverpool will be in the race for the title. But man.united showed great resilence to get back in the game at the end of the match and that could be the reason why they should win the league.

    Chris Hoy should have a least booked ballack after the goal in my view sent him off!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    look, just to clarify some things to you all, through the power of Sky+ i rewinded to see why the ref stopped the game when Ballack was down. and it was because he SAW evra stand on Ballack. therefore if he sees something he can give it. if he did not see ballack drop his SHOULDER, not elbow, to collide with evra then how can he give it? plus as many have already stated, united continued to play on so it was their own bloody fault. and no one has apparently come to mention the RESPECT FOR REF'S campaign that started last season and what did we see in the very first game? United surrounding the referee with every decision he made. and i thought that it was supposed to be chelsea that do that?
    with Rooney's goal it is very tight and i'm not going to speculate on whether it was or not as it shall result in more arguing. someone above mentioned that penalty shoot-outs where lotteries and you don't know what could happen, but he had to drag up the CL final? why? that was two years ago? one last point, with Nani's 'injury' that was his own bloody fault for re-inacting ronaldo by rolling about 20 times. as you can imagine that is not going to be too good for your shoulder now is it?

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Personally, I don't rate Park Ji Sung much at all to be honest. I think he is a hard worker and a decent player but he is nowhere near the level needed to be a top player for the English Champions.

    I realise he is the money spinner to keep the cash ticking over in Asia, but I think the team need someone better in his position. He would be decent as a reserve although he wouldn't merit a starting berth for me.

    Also, they lack a certain creative spark in the centre of the park, I feel Carrick and Fletcher are very similar in the roles they play but there isnt a Gerrard type player who can really do something special from central midfield.

    Interested to see where Gabriel Obertan ends up.

  • Comment number 95.

    84. Bellion-Wonderland wrote:

    Can't believe people make such a fuss over Fergie's comments and make them headlines.

    Ben Foster cost United the match and Fergie is shielding him by publicly lambasting the ref. Foster sees Fergie's loyalty and will be determined to do his best for Fergie moving forward. He has done it time and time again and every time the press fall for it rather than writing what they should be about Foster (supposedly England's brightest young keeper) playing appallingly badly.

    If Chelsea's second hadn't gone in the game would have played out differently and could easily still have finished 1-1 or 2-2 leading to the penalties.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Good point. Poor kicking, allowing himself to be closed down, allowing himself to be bullied by Chelsea's first, got two weak hands to the ball for Chelsea's second (and for a split second appeared to try the old 'it didn't cross the line' routine, by grabbing the ball very quickly indeed when it spun back out of the goal).

    Big improvement needed if he is to become Man U's first choice (though I personally would like him to be first choice if he carry's on performing like that :-)) and to get anywhere near being England's first choice.

    Still, only one game and we all know that Drogba can be a right pain in the backside when he is on his game.

  • Comment number 96.

    I didn't get to watch the match last night - I was stuck up in the mountains in New South Wales - but I enjoyed reading your analysis. I'm a Liverpool fan so this was one of those fixtures where I would have liked both sides to lose (or failing that a cracking, controversial match which by the sounds of it it was). I just wanted to pick out the following:

    "Rooney's importance cannot be over-estimated and his composed finish, cutting through the heart of Chelsea's central defence on to RYAN GIGGS' ASTUTE PASS, has to be a taste of things to come."

    My Gosh! The guy is going to be 36 soon and he still doing the business! We need to find out what he has for breakfast!

  • Comment number 97.

    Evra clearly ran into ballack, who only ever so slightly raised his arm in self defence. His arm happened to lightly brush evra in the chest who fell over clutching his head. Man U then retained possession so the ref allowed play to continue, but then 3 passes and about 5-6 seconds later Chelsea won the ball back so Evra stayed down clutching his head. It's the referee's call to decide whether a player is truly injured or not, but he obviously realised Evra was faking it (good call), and the Man U players just stood there complaining and waiting for the whistle to be blown rather than focusing on the game and stopping Chelsea from hitting on the counter attack. They had the advantage and lost it.

    Funny how when the ref allowed the goal, Evra was suddenly back up on his feet in the refs face. You can't just lie down on the floor and pretend to be injured when your team is being hit on the counter attack and expect the referee to stop play. That's not how the game works, and Man U should have no right to feel aggrieved about the incident. I agree that play shouldn't have been stopped when Ballack was winded a few minuted prior, but that's no reason for the ref to wrongly stop play when Evra fell over.

    Anyway, Chelsea played United off the park in the second half and were unlucky not to win in normal time. United are just clutching at straws, like they normally do when they lose. Rooney's goal was offside anyway, so surely that's some consolation to united fans! If Chelsea ended up losing due to that offside goal (like we did to Arsenal last year) then it would be us Chelsea fans complaining about it! And if this was a league game that ended up 2-2 in these circumstances, I think fans of both teams would be complaining. It was a cracking game of football, and I don't have much doubt in my mind that these 2 teams will be at the very top of the table come May.

    Still, promising start for Chelsea, and when Zhirkov and Joe Cole get a good run in the team, that should add some extra width and a bit of extra dimension to the new formation, which a lot of teams will struggle against.

    I think Ivanovic got a bit too much stick for his first half performance. People failed to realise that he was great at going forward, put some great crossed in, and he is also naturally a centre-back who is in the process of being groomed to be Chelsea's second choice right back as well as being able to play as a solid back-up centre-half.

    Was surprised at how well Nani did. I thought he was a waste of space last season, but he could be the creative spark that the Man U midfield is otherwise lacking.

    Still, cracking game, and both teams will take a few lessons from this, and both teams should just put this behind them and focus on what should be another fantastic season

  • Comment number 98.

    The whole debate is not that United played on it was the fact the ref stopped the game! He was in line and saw Ballack take Evra out. Evra was not rolling around!! Sure he was clutching his face but he was taken out and theres no doubt about a yellow card!

    Fair play to Fergie though when he was first asked about the Chelsea goal he blamed Foster. I dont think he will be starting against Birmingham now...

  • Comment number 99.

    I thought itan excellent game with everything that makes the premiership what it is..... even the bad/contoversial/contentious points.

    Yes ballack should have been carded but as United had the ball the ref played on they lost it Chelsea scored ... end of, move on, next.

    These 2 teams will contest most if not everying this season bring on next week glad to have football back.

  • Comment number 100.

    Ok, Fergie feels Ballack blocked Evra and should have been red-carded; fair enough. But how can he explain Evra's two footed challenge on Ballack a short while later? Looking at the two offences, which one is more likely to lead to a career threatening injury? I think the latter; if Evra had made any sort of contact Ballack's career might have well been over before the season even started. To his credit Ballack got straight up on his feet and did not try to con the ref by writhing around, something which could have earned Evra a straight red.

    Once again Fergie chooses to use his bully-boy tactics where they are not necessary. I think he was disappointed his players lost possession when they chose to carry on attacking with Evra on the ground and conceded the goal, which is noone's fault but Utd's players.

    Cant wait for the day Fergie leaves the game(retires, hopefully), his negative influence on the game is too much and it cant be good for football. Unfortunately that seems to be the only possible way of reining him in as the spineless FA just watch him strop around 'helplessly' and dont seem to be keen or able to do anything about it. He is already trying to put the pressure on the refs before season's begun!! Surely we have all seen it before?? Enough.

 

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