United looks promising but not the same force from a few years ago
It was, of course, only a friendly, and at times in the second half the game was played at little more than half pace, so it would be reckless to draw too many conclusions. But the happiest people after Sunday's Community Shield were probably Arsenal and Manchester City.
Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-1, and was worth the win, but neither side convinced. After a cautious World Cup, there was something both disconcerting and reassuring about seeing two teams attack each other and, for anybody involved with either side, something surely deeply alarming about how porous both looked.
Still, United did win and deserves credit for the things it did well, particularly as four of the last five winners of the Community Shield have gone on to win the Premiership title. Going forward, it was undeniably potent.
For Valencia, this was a positive sign. It would be ludicrous to expect him to be
That Rooney had to carry such a heavy load last season had less to do with Valencia -- who, goals aside, had a fine first season at Old Trafford -- than with
The signs on Sunday, though, were promising. He didn't break into anything more than a trot, of course, but then that's not his style, and to ask him to become a surrogate
At other clubs -- perhaps at United in different times -- the underperformance of last season would have meant major surgery. As it is, United's only response has been to bring in 21-year-old Mexico striker
The lack of spending generally is telling. Neither side had a new signing on the pitch at kickoff, which says much for the mood of austerity that has settled over the Premier League. Ronaldo was sold for about $120 million a year ago, with Valencia costing $24 million from Wigan. Since then, United's net spending is only around $18 million, with the most expensive signing being center back
So the forward line shows promise, and the midfield creaks on, but the real worry for Ferguson must be the back four. When Chelsea finally roused itself after