Robin van Persie’s brace settled the game and ensured the Community Shield once again belongs to the Premier League champions this year. The Dutchman got off to a flying start after winning the Golden Boot for the second year running last term.
His 26 goals in the league played a pivotal role in United’s title win – between his goals and assists, of which he made 15, he accounted for 48% of United’s 86 goals scored last term. By comparison, Gareth Bale accounted for 41% of Tottenham’s goals last term (via his 21 goals and 9 assists).
Spurs were regularly criticized for their overreliance on the Welshman who claimed both the PFA Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year awards – if Spurs are dismissed as a one-man team with Bale, what does that make United?
The Mirror’s Olivier Holt asserts that United were ‘one-dimensional’ and missing ‘world class’ talent in the form of Wayne Rooney on Sunday. The England number 10 was not involved due to a shoulder injury as speculation intensifies over his future at Old Trafford.
Rooney undoubtedly adds dynamism, energy and imagination to the Red Devils and on Sunday you could see they missed him – despite the fairly routine win against the recently relegated FA Cup winners, the display was less than mesmerizing.
Of course, it was their first competitive match of the season after only a handful of pre-season games but, based on their record from last term under Sir Alex Ferguson, United are in danger of becoming a one-man team.
This is nothing out of the ordinary – a world-class talent like Van Persie would be the star of any team and any manager worth his salt would want to design a team around him and cater to his needs much like Andre Villas-Boas does at Tottenham, Brendan Rodgers does at Liverpool with Luis Suarez, and Martin Jol does at Fulham with Dimitar Berbatov.
The only danger is that if the star man picks up and injury or a suspension, the team can sometimes run out of ideas if there is no Plan B to their style of play. United were in the market for Cesc Fabregas, primarily because it is clear they lack creativity in central areas.
Both Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa can function as playmakers but their form and fitness last term was sub-par by their own impeccably high standards. V
an Persie often pulls back into deeper and even wide positions to receive the ball and create his own build-up play, working off the midfielders but the harder the works, the more United could to rely on him solely and, in the process, they make a rod for their own back, essentially.
image: © little-pete