It’s the curtain-raiser for the 2018/19 season as last season’s Premier League (PL) Champions Manchester City take on FA Cup winners Chelsea in the FA Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
It has been a topsy-turvy pre-season for the Blues, who have had to make a managerial change. New boss Maurizio Sarri still has to fight for the unsure futures of Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, and Willian as he gets set for an important season.
Summer signing Jorginho could make his debut and it will be an interesting showdown against a club that he reportedly turned down. The promise of attacking football with high pressing ‘Sarriball’ will make its debut as Chelsea move into a new era.
For Manchester City, it has been more of the same, as they get ready for a new season after winning the PL last year with 100 points. Manager Pep Guardiola could be boosted by the availability of summer signing Riyad Mahrez and injury-plagued defender Benjamin Mendy.
City did not have a particularly positive pre-season, losing two of three games, although Guardiola experimented by involving a lot of Academy players. Key players, though, are yet to link up with the club after their World Cup exertions.
Players to watch: Willy Caballero (CHE) will be under the spotlight this season, more so if Courtois leaves. With energetic pre-season performances, Mahrez has endeared himself to the City faithful already.
Stat attack: Chelsea have won four Shields in 12 appearances, while City have won four in ten.
Since 1992, only seven clubs that have won the Shield became the league champions in the same season. Chelsea have not won their previous four Shield finals.
Guardiola’s record in the DFL-Super Cup (Shield equivalent) is three defeats in three games and there have been over 2.5 goals scored in five of the last seven matches between these sides.