Less than three months ago Sir Alex Ferguson took charge of his last ever Manchester United game, as a packed away at West Brom saluted the most successful manager in the club’s history, as everybody connected with the club began to slowly come to terms with the prospect of United without Fergie.
Three months have gone by and the transition between Sir Alex and David Moyes hasn’t been as smooth as many had hoped, with the former Everton manager already under severe scrutiny by sections of the media, while an increasing number of fans have voiced their concern ahead of this season.
An unimpressive pre-season coupled with the club’s sheer ineptitude in the transfer window has left many feeling United and Moyes aren’t on the same level with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, and while that could still change over the next three weeks, optimism is being severely tested at Old Trafford.
Today, however, David Moyes has the opportunity to lift his first piece of his silverware of his career as United take on Wigan at Wembley in the Community Shield, the season’s traditional curtain-raiser.
David Moyes revealed he’s eager to get his United career underway in the best possible way: ”I just cannot wait to get the season started. As I have said before, I know what it is like to walk out at Old Trafford as the manager of the opposition, so to step out in front of more than 75,000 fans as the Manchester United manager will be a special moment for me. Being given the chance to manage a club like this was a dream come true for me and probably more so given that the previous manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, wanted me to be in charge of the club. My sole goal is to be successful and have a winning team. I hope that, over the years, we can enjoy plenty of success. I’m really looking forward to it.”
United descend on Wembley as the clear favourites, having beaten Wigan 16 times in the last 17 attempts, but Owen Coyle’s Latics, the first team from outside the top-flight to play in the Community Shield since West Ham in 1980, will go into today’s fixture with a bullish attitude, on the back of their 4-0 win against Barnsley last week.
Coyle, who replaced Everton-bound Roberto Martinez after Wigan were relegated last season, was full of praise for United’s new manager:
“David has succeeded Sir Alex on merit. For years I have been saying he could manage any top club in world football. There is no doubting what he has done. He has been at the coal face with Preston and earned the right to go from there to Everton, where he also did a magnificent job. He was a natural successor to Sir Alex and it is great to see a home-grown manager evolving to that level. I have no doubts he will have huge success at Manchester United.”
Moyes, meanwhile, will be without the injured Wayne Rooney again, as the saga surrounding the striker rumbles on. Despite being passed fit to play for England, Rooney missed Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial on Friday and will sit out today’s match with a shoulder injury, meaning Javier Hernandez could start up-front.
Despite playing on Friday, Rio Ferdinand is expected to start, as is Wilfried Zaha, who impressed in pre-season since joining from Crystal Palace.
United have won four of of their last five Community Shields, their only defeat coming in a penalty shoot-out against Chelsea in 2009, while their most recent success came in the form of a 3-2 way against City two seasons ago, as United came back from 0-2 down to seal a win in stoppage time.
One of the two teams competing in the Community Shields has gone on to win the Premier League in five of the last six seasons and hopefully today will prove a good omen for David Moyes and United.
Odds Man Utd 1/4, Wigan 10/1, draw 5/1
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Tags: Match Preview