In a match that had much of the passion and attacking gusto that had been missing from last year’s FA Cup final, when these two sides last met at Wembley, it was United that played from in front.
Starting his 16th season in the red of United, evergreen midfielder Ryan Giggs blasted the ball into the roof of the net on 34 minutes after some clever lead up play from Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrice Evra.
It was a deserved goal for the English champions who looked as committed as ever to playing attacking football.
Ronaldo, after coming of age last season, looked frustrated whenever the ball was not delivered to his feet, and when it did arrive he looked as deadly and goal hungry as he did in the last campaign. Opponents take note.
Chelsea, who played with English international Joe Cole in the middle of a front three, still looked to be short of their best, but their equaliser came just before the half-time break.
New signing Florent Malouda showed why Roman Abramovich had parted with $27m to sign him, and why Arjen Robben’s future may lie in Madrid, when he showed great composure to first ride the attempted tackle of Rio Ferdinand and then slot the ball home with the outside of his left foot as Van der Sar attempted to close him down.
With the late summer’s heat starting to take its toll on players perhaps keen to keep plenty in the tank for the start of the season proper next week, the tempo dropped in the second half.
After 67 minutes, Sir Alex Ferguson threw on new signing Luis Nani so the expectant crowd could see what all the hype was about.
At first they might have felt ripped off when Nani’s first two touches were disastrous.
However, like every professional footballer, he was quick to find the blame in something other than his own ability and a quick signal for a change of boots allowed him to gather his thoughts. To be fair, he seemed far more composed with his second choice of footwear.
Still, despite the changes, neither side really tested the keeper in the second half and it was left to penalties to decide the first trophy winner of the 2007/08 season.
Perhaps, the most telling score for the rest of the season was Alex Ferguson 1, Jose Mourinho 0.