The football season is back. And so is the drama and controversy that comes as a part of the package!
Manchester City began their season with an impressive come from behind victory over Di Matteo’s Chelsea to win the Community Shield trophy but were hugely aided by the sending of Branislav Ivanovic in the first half. Yaya Toure, Tevez and Nasri got on the scoresheet for the English champions after Torres had opened the scoring in the first half before Ryan Bertrand secured a late consolation for the FA Cup and European Champions.
The dozens of empty seats at Villa Park was an indication was that football had taken the second priority for atleast the next 24 hours as the whole of Britain focused on the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Roberto Mancini was in an experimental mood as he opted for a 3-5-2 formation with Savic, Kompany and Kolarov manning the defence. Silva started from the bench while a conjunctivitis infection kept Balotelli out of the game, thus giving an opportunity for the Argentinian pair of Aguero and Tevez to start together.
Di Matteo was more conservative and opted for a typical 4-4-1-1 formation with Eden Hazard, the only new signing on display, started on the left flank while Torres took his place up front. But it was City who would call the shots as Tevez forced the first save of the game as his free kick looked destined for the top corner in the third minute.
Hazard, keen to make an impression, tried to force his way through the City defenders with cute flicks and trips but he would most likely be remembered for falling flat on his face while attempting a backflick. Nasri and Aguero were proving to be a constant danger as they proved to be in the dying minutes of the last season but it was Chelsea who took the lead against the run of play in the 40th minute.
Ramires picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and provided Torres with a neat reverse pass and the Spaniard made clear of his intent for the new season with a masterly finish, something that was beyond him the whole of last season. Yet Chelsea’s celebrations were short-lived as they found themselves reduced to ten men within two minutes.
As Kolarov broke down the left, Ivanovic moved quickly to his right and sent the City player tumbling with a dangerous and unnecessary tackle that saw the referee flash a straight red. The Serbian defender will now miss the first three games of the season but Chelsea had more pressing matters as 45 dark minutes stared at them.
City dominated possession and play from the restart and it took them only eight minutes to break the shackles. Toure picked up a loose ball from John Terry and drove home a low shot into the bottom corner making it seem as simple a routine work. Four minutes later, City had the inevitable lead.
There seemed little danger when Tevez picked up a ball on the edge of the box but the maverick Argentine cut right across David Luiz and blasted a shot into the top corner. Cech could only stand motionless as the striker dedicated his goal to the Fuerte Apache area in which he grew up in Argentina.
The game seemed over when Nasri tripled the lead with a first time volley to turn in Kolarov’s cross to complete a flamboyant move. Substitute Ryan Bertrand pulled one back for Chelsea in the 80th minute as he turned in a rebound after Sturridge’s shot was poorly blocked by Pantilimon, standing in for the injured Hart.
It was too little, too late as City held on and delivered the first punch of the season – a title before the season has even begun, probably a sign of things to come over the next ten months.