Manchester City face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium this afternoon for the Community Shield in the traditional curtain-raiser for the new season.
Despite Antonio Conte’s eventual and inevitable sacking, the Italian tactician delivered the FA Cup in his final season at Stamford Bridge to ensure Chelsea would face the Premier League champions today.
City’s campaign needs little explanation after they shattered team and league records left and right, eventually winning the Premier League at a canter and in doing so becoming The Centurions – the first team to ever reach 100 points in a single season. Along the way, they also collected the League Cup at the home of today’s game, Wembley.
It is an intriguing match between the Premier League and FA Cup winners from last season, with Maurizio Sarri now in the Chelsea hot-seat after his Napoli team faced Pep Guardiola’s City in two engaging Champions League games last season. Pep Guardiola overcame Sarri in both games, but they were intriguing tactical battles that lacked nothing in entertainment, the away fixture for City seeing Sergio Aguero become the club’s all-time record goal scorer.
It will give both tacticians, who are personal friends, one last chance to assess where their teams are at before the Premier League season begins next weekend. Both teams have had pre-seasons interrupted by the World Cup, with Manchester City sending a record number of players to Russia. Three of them – Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling – are still not deemed fit enough to play, with De Bruyne and Raheem due to return to training on Monday.
Chelsea too are hit by the World Cup, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and N’Golo Kante missing today, but they do field new signing Jorginho, who City now famously pursued all summer only for Sarri to snatch him from under Pep’s nose late in the day after becoming Chelsea boss.
Despite the absentees, noth sides are fielding many established names, with the Blues’ front three of Leroy Sané, Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero perhaps an indicator as to why City are the favourites to win per 888 casino. With Vincent Kompany among the substitutes, Fernandinho takes the captain’s armband for City, while there is a start for teenage sensation Phil Foden who occupies one of the free 8 roles with Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva.
There is also a start for Benjamin Mendy, who is looking to collect his FOURTH trophy in twelve months, despite playing a handful of games because of a serious injury suffered last season.
Jonathan Moss is today’s referee at Wembley and here are the starting lineups selected by Pep Guardiola and his counterpart Maurizio Sarri.
Chelsea XI: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Rüdiger, David Luiz, Alonso, Jorginho, Fàbregas, Barkley, Pedro, Hudson-Odoi, Morata
Manchester City XI: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho (c), Foden, Bernardo, Sané, Mahrez, Aguero
The match can be viewed on BT Sport 1 in the UK. A full list of TV coverage from around the world can be found here.
Follow us at @City_Watch on Twitter for live coverage of the game! Come on City!
Manchester City have launched the 2018/19 away kit!
Pick up the Wembley 1999 inspired strip at the City Store!