Football

/ Match report

Powered by ESPNfc
  • Manchester United 2-0 Wigan Athletic, Community Shield, Wembley

Vintage Van Persie seals victory

Alex Perry
August 11, 2013
United players celebrate victory © Getty Images
Enlarge

A new manager and a new era at Manchester United, but it was a vintage Robin van Persie display that earned David Moyes his first piece of silverware as a top flight manager.

It might just be the glorified friendly that is the season-opening Community Shield, but this victory will mean everything to a manager who was largely perceived to have underachieved in 11 years at Everton before being named Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at Old Trafford.

But the result will be more than welcome after a below-par pre-season which saw the Premier League champions win just two of seven games under Moyes' stewardship prior to Sunday's Wembley showdown.

And with all the talk of big-name signings which, as yet, have failed to materialise, Van Persie made it patently clear that he continues to be the main man for the Scot.

Such is the length of time Ferguson 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 Ferguson as manager, back in 1985.

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.

It took just six minutes for Van Persie to continue where he left off last season, a campaign in which he scored 30 goals in all competitions.

The Dutchman picked the ball up on the edge of the Wigan penalty area before dropping deep and feeding Patrice Evra - a player under intense scrutiny with Moyes' reported desire to bring in Leighton Baines from his former club.

But Evra, doing what he does best, burst into the opposition half before picking out Van Persie with an inch-perfect cross which the striker guided expertly into the far corner.

And the result was wrapped up in the 59th minute when Van Persie cut inside onto his favoured left foot and his scuffed effort deflected off James Perch's lunge before finding its way past the sprawling Scott Carson.

With the exception of Paul Scholes, Moyes 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, such has been the impact he has made on a journey that has seen United play seven matches in six countries since Moyes took over. The England winger flitted in and out, rather like United as a whole in a largely mundane affair in which FA Cup holders Wigan managed just one effort on goal.

"It's always nice to score, especially at Wembley," Van Persie said before joining his team-mates on Wembley's famous steps.

"It's a very good day for us, for the fans, and for the manager as well. One day, one game and you have a trophy.

"For me, last year I only scored a couple of headers so it was good to see that go in."

When pushed about United's chances for the forthcoming season, he added: "I don't really care if we are third favourites, I believe in this team and we will be challenging."

Player-coach Ryan Giggs added: "It was a very professional performance. We were disappointing pre-season so our main objective here was to get a clean sheet and we're delighted to get the win.

"Robin's first goal was brilliant and a great start for us and we hope he can recreate the form he showed last year."

Van Persie opens the scoring © Getty Images
Enlarge

Alex Perry is an assistant editor at ESPN and can be found tweeting here

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Close