Roy Keane lasted just 61 minutes of the new season before receiving a red card in Manchester United's defeat in the Charity Shield, while Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink showed he could be the answer to Chelsea's long search for a marksman.
Just over a year ago, Hasselbaink was earning himself a tarnished reputation by effectively forcing Leeds to sell him abroad to Atletico Madrid. However, it took him only 22 minutes at Wembley today to open his account for Chelsea following his record £15million summer signing. And there was much in his committed display to indicate that he will significantly enhance the Blues' title chances as they place the Premiership at the top of their priority list this season. For the lack of a proven goalscorer who can finish the wealth of chances which Chelsea so often create - and which were all too often missed last season as Chris Sutton flopped and Gianfranco Zola struggled in front of the net - has been the Blues' Achilles heel for some time.
Controversy never seems to be far away from Hasselbaink, with Keane enraged by one second-half challenge, which left him hobbling, while on two occasions the striker apparently tamely went to ground looking for a free kick. However, Keane is no stranger to controversy himself and after pushing Roberto di Matteo in an earlier altercation, which went unpunished, he never recovered his temper from that tackle by Hasselbaink. When Gustavo Poyet received the ball in the centre of the pitch shortly afterwards, the United captain stormed in with a dangerous studs-first tackle from behind and was rightly dismissed by referee Mike Riley.
Keane's red card - his seventh in his United career and the first in a Charity Shield since Kevin Keegan was sent off following a clash with Billy Bremner in 1974 - will inevitably make the headlines as well as earning him a likely three-match ban. But Hasselbaink's immediate impact for Chelsea - even if his strike was deflected off substitute Jaap Stam's leg and an earlier chance went begging - could carry far greater significance for the coming season.
Overall, Chelsea certainly looked much sharper than the champions, with an organised defence and goalscoring threats on both flanks from Poyet and Mario Stanic, although the Charity Shield can often prove to be an unreliable guide as to what lies ahead. Result: Chelsea 2 Man. Utd. 0. (PA)