Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United take Community Shield after beating Wigan 2-0 at Wembley

By Simon Stone

Robin van Persie restored order to Manchester United's troubled pre-season by grabbing the goals that brought David Moyes his first trophy as manager.

Van Persie struck early in each half to allow United to repel the threat of an enterprising Wigan outfit and claim the Community Shield for the 20th time.

More importantly, it was silverware at the first available opportunity for Moyes, who has such a massive job on his hands after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson in May.

Such is the length of time Ferguson has dominated life at Old Trafford that six of Moyes' starting line-up were not even born the last time United played in this annual curtain-raiser without the Scot as manager, back in 1985, when Alan Brazil was among the substitutes.

Moyes will be grateful for the squad he has inherited though, particularly Van Persie, who did more than anyone to ensure Ferguson left centre stage as a championship winner.

He took only six minutes to get started today, superbly directing a header into the bottom corner from Patrice Evra's left-wing cross.

It needed a deflection off James Perch to bring United their second on the hour, although Van Persie will rightly be credited with the goal after cutting inside off a Danny Welbeck pass to drive an effort towards the target.

There was an injury scare for United though, with Rafael limping off in the opening stages, although the Brazilian is suspended anyway for next Saturday's Barclays Premier League opener at Swansea.

With only two wins in pre-season prior to this afternoon, no new signings of any significance and Wayne Rooney's situation uncertain to the extent he is considered fit enough to face Scotland on Wednesday, but not to even make the journey south for this fixture, Moyes' transition period has been anything but smooth.

Yet, with the exception of Paul Scholes, he retains the entire squad which won their 20th league championship by 11 points last May, plus Wilfried Zaha, who has finally switched clubs after spending the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace.

Zaha was included today, such has been the impact he has made on a journey that has seen United play seven matches in six countries prior to this afternoon's contest.

The England winger flitted in and out, rather like United as a whole in a largely mundane affair.

They did at least play though, which was more than Manchester City managed in May, explaining why Wigan were here in the first place.

And the goal Moyes must have craved arrived pretty quickly too.

Evra crossed from the left and Van Persie was left alone to direct his header into the far corner.

After scoring 30 times in his debut campaign for the Red Devils, it had taken the Dutchman just six minutes to open his account this time around.

For a while, with Zaha sparking and Ryan Giggs cajoling from the other flank, it seemed United would run away with the contest.

Welbeck came close to turning home a near-post chance and Van Persie threatened once more.

Slowly, Wigan began to grow into the game.

The battle between Grant Holt and Nemanja Vidic proved the Latics were willing to match United physically - a sharp change of emphasis from the Roberto Martinez era - and new boy James McClean was a valuable presence out wide.

McClean should have profited from Chris Smalling's error when the defender - on as an early substitute for Rafael - overran Stephen Crainey's long ball, gifting the Irishman possession deep inside the United box.

Instead of picking out a team-mate, McClean drilled the ball across goal looking for a ricochet, which did not come.

Emmerson Boyce also chose the wrong option when he leapt to meet Ben Watson's curling free-kick to the far post, heading it back across goal as David de Gea scrambled, expecting to come under direct threat.

Welbeck brought a good save out of Scott Carson before the break but Wigan remained largely on the offensive after it, which would have made United's second on the hour that much harder to take.

Evra, Tom Cleverley and Welbeck were all involved in the Red Devils moving the ball across the field.

Van Persie instinctively cut inside and although it took a deflection off Perch to beat Carson, as the shot was on target, it meant last season's Golden Boot winner claimed a second, and Moyes claimed the trophy.

Manchester United v Wigan ratings

MANCHESTER UNITED

DAVID DE GEA: A spectator throughout as his defence nullified the little threat Wigan posed - 6/10.

RAFAEL: Sustained a knock in the opening skirmishes and hobbled off after quarter of an hour - 6.

PATRICE EVRA: Provided a pin-point cross to Robin van Persie for the opener and had little to do defensively - 7.

PHIL JONES: Moved to right-back when Rafael went off and opted to sit tight, rather than maraud forwards - 6.

RYAN GIGGS: The 39-year-old was excellent. Almost found Van Persie with a delicate chip in the first half as he strolled through with a calm assurance - 7.

NEMANJA VIDIC: Kept Grant Holt quiet, except when the pair had to be spoken to by referee Mark Clattenburg for pushing at a set-piece, as part of a straightforward afternoon - 7.

MICHAEL CARRICK: Cruised through the 90 minutes, patrolling midfield and linking play well - 7.

DANNY WELBECK: Denied by Scott Carson when he attempted to double United's lead with a shot on the turn. Some bright moments of interplay - 7.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE: The prolific striker began the season the way he performed for much of last term with a double - a sublime header and a deflected second - 8.

TOM CLEVERLEY: Created a first-half chance for Welbeck and miscued a shot from a good position on the edge of the area in the second period - 6.

WILFRIED ZAHA: The winger's pace and trickery troubled Wigan as he impressed on a second successive visit to Wembley following May's play-off final win with Crystal Palace - 7.

Substitutes

CHRIS SMALLING (on for Rafael, 16 minutes): Slotted in seamlessly at centre-back as part of a defensive reshuffle - 6.

ANTONIO VALENCIA (on for Zaha, 60): Ran at Stephen Crainey in the same manner as Zaha but not to the same effect - 6.

ANDERSON (on for Giggs, 67): Did little as United played out time - 5.

SHINJI KAGAWA (on for Welbeck, 83): Not enough time to make an impact - 5.

ADNAN JANUZAJ (on for Van Persie, 83): Not enough time to make an impact - 5.

 

WIGAN

SCOTT CARSON: Could do little about Van Persie's goals and saved well from Welbeck's shot on the turn - 7.

EMMERSON BOYCE: Did his defensive duties well, but was outnumbered as the overlapping Evra caused problems - 6.

JAMES PERCH: Part of the static defence which did not attack Evra's cross for the opener and Van Persie's second deflected in off him - 5.

LEON BARNETT: Made a crucial first-half intervention to prevent Welbeck converting a menacing Zaha cross and another to stop Evra combining with Van Persie in the second half - 7.

STEPHEN CRAINEY: Struggled to cope with Zaha's scintillating pace and was given little relief when Valencia came on - 5.

JAMES McCARTHY: The midfield tyro had little opportunity to show the qualities which have seen him linked with a summer move - 6.

BEN WATSON: Returning to the scene of his historic strike, FA Cup final hero Watson was outshone by another former Palace man in Zaha - 6.

JAMES McCLEAN: Darted by Smalling in the first half, but was wasteful with his final ball as he tried too hard to impress on his debut - 6.

JAMES McARTHUR: Booked for a foul on Welbeck, the midfielder spent most of the afternoon chasing possession and struggling to retrieve it - 5.

SHAUN MALONEY: The Scot was unable to influence the game as he did on his last Wembley visit and will hope for better on Wednesday night - 6.

GRANT HOLT: Frustrating afternoon for the former Norwich striker who was taken off midway through the second half - 6.

Substitutes

CHRIS McCANN (on for McArthur, 60): Like the man he replaced, had few opportunities - 5.

MARC-ANTOINE FORTUNE (on for Holt, 60): Had even fewer chances than Holt as United hogged the ball - 5.

CALLUM McMANAMAN (on for McClean, 60): After excelling in his last Wembley visit, the winger was quiet - 5.

JORDI GOMEZ (on for Maloney, 71): Was unable to get on the ball in the latter stages - 5.

ROGER ESPINOZA (on for Watson, 71): Spent his time trying to get on the ball and was booked for late tackle on Cleverley - 5.

NOUHA DICKO (on for McCarthy, 86): Not enough time to make an impact - 5.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph