So, another Community Shield has been added to the pile.
The match looked like a pre-season affair at the outset but seemed to pick up steam as the second half unfolded.
Mourinho and Zlatan have spoken openly about how winning is the only option – and this bravado has been a welcome addition to a club that has been struggling for swagger in the post-Ferguson era.
While I’m glad of the victory and pleased with how he have found a triumph after a challenging pre-season programme, I’m still left with more than a few questions. If answered correctly, I think we could be on the way to yet more silverware in the near future.
- Who partners Pogba? – I feel confident that Mourinho will persist with his 4-2-3-1 setup, a formation that may not actually get the best out of the returning Frenchman. But the options for a player to sit next to Pogba in the holding two are not spectacular. Fellaini nor Schweinsteiger are obviously not the answer. It’s not Herrera’s best position and Carrick likely can’t play every match. This leaves Morgan Schneiderlin for now – and possibly the need to spend again soon unless he finds form next to his compatriot.
- Right-back – Antonio Valencia continues to look like a weak spot in the back four, but has been a solid provider of assists in the pre-season. Matteo Darmian was suited and booted in the stands for this one, as was Timothy Fosu-Mensah. I have to believe that one of these two will press Tony for game time. Mind you, I’d also like to see TFM given some time in his natural position and partnered with Pogba…
- Wayne Rooney – His career as a midfielder is over before it really began, and it honestly seems like we have better options in attack. Not our best #10, not our best striker and surely not to be shunted out wide. Will Mourinho have the minerals to leave Wazza on the bench if need be? Man, I hope so.
- Centre half – Chris Smalling is one of few players whose stock has risen in the past three seasons. Newcomer Eric Bailly is pacy [albeit raw] and just put in a MOTM performance at Wembley. One feels Daley Blind is only been playing regularly as he had no tournament exertions over the summer and the Bailly & Mike partnership will be given every chance to flourish. Maybe a better chance of Blind playing in holding midfield if the centre backs stay fit.
- More transfer business? – It seems likely that we’ll stand pat on incomings following the Pogba arrival. Mourinho has talked about four signings since the get-go. The Portuguese has also made it clear that he wants to work with a small squad, and as such you’d feel confident that there’ll be more than a handful of outgoings before September. Assuming 23 outfield players and 3 keepers, I make it no fewer than 10 current senior players to be sold or loaned. Basti and Januzaj will not be the only casualties of the new regime. And frankly, we’ve had far too many players these past few years who were lucky to get a game in that shirt.