Manchester United drew first blood in this season’s battle with Chelsea as they clinched the Community Shield with a 3-1 win at Wembley.
Goals from Antonio Valencia, debutant Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov secured a well-deserved victory which gives them an early psychological advantage for the season ahead.
United are priced at 9/4 to win the Premier League title, and their slick attacking performance will have encouraged Sir Alex Ferguson.
With title odds of 13/8, Chelsea remain the slight favourites to retain their crown, though their sense of supremacy will have been dented by the defeat to their rivals.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the win for United will be Hernandez’s goal on his official debut for the club, albeit in bizarre circumstances.
With his nickname Chicarito (‘Little Pea’) emblazoned on the back of his shirt, Hernandez slid in to meet a Valencia cross, only for the ball to cannon off his face into the net.
As unorthodox as his first competitive goal for the club was, Hernandez is proving to be an instant hit with United fans, and the Mexican forward is 28/1 to be the Premier League’s top scorer this season.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti was not overly concerned by the defeat, as he saw the Wembley encounter as merely another run-out to boost the squad’s fitness ahead of the new season.
And with Brazilian midfielder Ramires expected to complete his £18m to Stamford Bridge this week, Ancelotti’s side look ominously strong.
Who will be Hernandez’s strongest competition to be leading goalscorer? Didier Drogba is a 9/2 contender. See the full Barlcays Premier League Betting Odds market.