Date: August 10, 2014
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Kick-off time: 3.00 pm BST
Arsenal and Manchester City kick off the English season when they compete for the Community Shield on Sunday. Wembley Stadium hosts the traditional curtain raiser, which promises to be an exciting affair.
Arsenal finally got a monkey off their backs by ending their nine-year long trophyless run with an FA Cup triumph last season.
They have strengthened their squad, with the addition of Alexis Sanchez standing out. The aim will be to challenge for the league and a win here against the Premier League winners would serve as a marker.
Arsenal’s form in pre-season has been patchy, with a 5-1 thumping of Benfica being the highlight. Yaya Sanogo is showing signs of coming of age and he notched 4 goals in that one.
Manchester City’s form
Manchester City have had a quietly efficient summer. While the media has been fascinated by the going ons at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, the champions have almost slipped under the radar this off-season.
The squad was already formidable before the additions of Fernando, Bacary Sagna and (as seems likely) Elaquim Mangala. Retaining the title will be a high priority, but I suspect the ambitious owners will also want to see some progress in Europe this season.
Pre-season form has been similarly inconsistent as Arsenal’s with a superb 5-1 win over AC Milan followed by draws against Liverpool and Olympiakos.
Key Players/Team News
Some of Arsenal’s fringe players have impressed in pre-season, with Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell in particular shining, so they may get a chance in a more competitive environment. Arsenal Wenger is likely to unleash Alexis Sanchez on Sunday although World Cup winners Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil are unlikely to feature.
Stevan Jovetic has been the star turn in pre-season and Manuel Pellegrini could give him the nod to start up front. Also likely to feature is former Arsenal man Sagna, which will add a bit of spice to proceedings.
A draw after 90 minutes seems good value at 5/2 with bet365, while I like in-form Jovetic to score at any time at 7/4 (Coral).
However, if you do not have an account with Betfair, you can look to go with Betfair’s exclusive offer for new users – they are offering a whopping 12/1 for an Arsenal win and 8/1 if Manchester City win this one.
CLICK HERE to claim the offer