The official curtain raiser for the 2018/19 English season will be played on Sunday, with Premier League champions Manchester City set to come up against FA Cup winners Chelsea in the Community Shield. Chelsea lost to Arsenal on penalties in last year’s edition and are hoping for better luck this time around.
Here are three keys to how the match could be won or lost.
Pep Guardiola v Maurizio Sarri
Pep Guardiola stamped his mark on the English game last season as his City side broke hearts and records on their way to a title won by probably the most attacking team the Premier League has ever seen. Chelsea will be looking to get something resembling that kind of offensive verve from Maurizio Sarri, who built quite an attacking team himself at Napoli in the last three years.
The two managers get an early chance to pit their wits against each other, although Guardiola has the upper hand of two years’ experience in England and arguably, a significantly better squad.
Ilkay Gündogan v Jorginho
Jorginho was rumoured to be one of Guardiola’s main targets this summer, and was largely expected to join the Manchester side. Chelsea and Sarri, however, pulled off a major hijack and convinced the Brazil-born Italian to join the Blues in London instead. The 25-year old has already impressed in pre-season and should be a shoo-in to start in the Community Shield.
City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will not have had enough training with the team to feature, which should see Ilkay Gündogan play. The German will want to show his manager that there truly was no loss in missing out on Jorginho.
Aymeric Laporte v Alvaro Morata
The one big problem looming over the head of Sarri is whether he has a reliable goal scorer within his ranks. As things stand, Alvaro Morata appears to be the club’s designated number nine, but the Spaniard looks to have carried forward his struggles from last season into pre-season. With Olivier Giroud not ready to return to action following his involvement in France’s World Cup success, Morata is likely to start.
Tasked with the job of stopping him will be Aymeric Laporte, who did not take part in the World Cup. With Vincent Kompany and John Stones also likely to sit out the encounter, Laporte will have the chance to establish himself in the fight with for a starting spot in the Citizens’ central defence.
Do you think Guardiola will teach Sarri an early English lesson? Or will Jorginho turn up to show Man City just what they missed? Click here to bet on the match.