The FA Community Shield takes place on Sunday at Wembley as Premier League champions Manchester City take on FA Cup winners Chelsea.

Formerly known as the Charity Shield (amongst other names), the Community Shield gives top flight football fans the chance to see a couple of the probable title contenders go head to head before the real action of the Premier League itself.

Players And Managers Eager To Impress

While this pre-season leg-stretcher counts for little in real terms, it is nice for a manager to get some early silverware in the cabinet. That would certainly be the case for new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.

Clearly, though, Pepo Guardiola’s men will have something to say about that, and it is City who go into the match as the bookies’ favourites. William Hill offer the best betting odds of 23/20 on the Citizens to win in 90 minutes, with the draw out at 11/4 with Betfred and a Chelsea win priced at 14/5 with Unibet on our odds comparison.

Man City and Chelsea have picked up the Community Shield (or its predecessors) on four occasions apiece, though Everton (9), Liverpool (10), Arsenal (14) and Man United (17) are all above them in the outright wins stats.

City To Pick Up Where They Left Off

At the time of writing, Man City haven’t gone over the top in the transfer market during the summer months. They have landed Riyad Mahrez from Leicester and 18-year-old French defensive midfielder Claudio Gomes from PSG. Neither player is likely to walk into the well-established first team, but both can be valuable additions.

It is not as though City particularly needed to strengthen of course. After winning the Premier League with 100 points and a goal difference of +79, Guardiola clearly has the team to beat once again. And while some of their rivals – including Chelsea of course – will be disrupted by managerial changes or the influx or exodus of big name stars, we can see it being simply business as usual for the Citizens, starting on Sunday afternoon.

Sarri The Man To Bring Success?

Sarri replaces fellow Italian Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge after three years at Napoli where he had an impressive win record of 65.99. This compares pretty well to his predecessor’s record when at Juventus of 67.1, so the Chelsea board will be hoping Sarri can have a similar impact to Conte who guided his side to the Premier League title with 30 wins, a new record. We can’t see it though. Bringing in Jorginho from his former club might help Chelsea’s cause a little, but he is not really a game-changer, and it will be more important to keep hold of Eden Hazard if he wants a successful season.

It is very possible Chelsea’s new man will bring success to the club, but there is inevitably going to be a period of adjustment. Sarri needs to get the big players onside quickly if he is to foster an environment of togetherness at the club, and of course to buy himself the time he may need to avoid being taken down by the trigger-happy board.

City To Win With Room To Spare

While we think the Chelsea players will be keen to impress their new boss ahead of the Premier League season, we can’t see them getting the better of Man City. The Blues were a full 30 points off the pace in the title race last season, and City beat them twice in the league last term, 1-0 home and away.

Our prediction for this pre-season encounter is something more dramatic than a narrow victory for the favourites. We think if City get out of the blocks well they could post an impressive score, sending shivers down the spines of their top flight rivals. Backing City to win by a three goal margin is not a bad shout at betting odds of 11/1 with Boylesports.

We also like the look of City to be winning at half time and full time at odds of 12/5 with Ladbrokes. When the Citizens are on song, they flow with such pace and intent that they can be almost unstoppable. With competition in Pep’s starting XI as fierce as ever, we anticipate whoever starts the game for City will want to make a positive impression from the off. As such, despite their best efforts, we think Chelsea will be put to the sword in this one.


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