The season’s traditional curtain raiser is almost here and that means the new campaign is edging ever closer. It also means we get some early signals about what’s ahead as last year’s top two show us what they’ve got ahead of the big kick-off.
But how much can you read into the Community Shield? Well going by what we saw last year, not much. Liverpool, don’t forget, looked lightyears ahead of Pep’s champions a year ago in Leicester.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez plotted their downfall but it offered little evidence of what was to come as the Reds’ sluggish season didn’t compare to the team they defeated.
Arsenal though have a real point to prove. Did they bottle it last season or did nature simply take its course? The debate has raged all summer but it’s a clean slate now, the regrets they had at those dropped points at West Ham, Liverpool and against Southampton have all been boxed up and pushed away out of sight.
It’s fair to say the Gunners have had the better close season. They have beaten City to the signing of Declan Rice, with Kai Havertz and Netherlands international defender Jurrine Timber also in-coming it seems City need to get some business done.
Bernardo Silva is said to be ‘desperate’ to join Barcelona, İlkay Gündoğan has already gone there and Riyad Mahrez has been lured by a Saudi paycheque. The Kyle Walker to Bayern Munich links, meanwhile, just won’t go away.
But Arsenal really don’t like playing City remember, especially these past few years. Two convincing Premier League defeats last term, the year before they took six points too – including the 5-0 win that had some fans demanding Mikel Arteta was shown the door.
Rice, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Folarin Balogun are facing a race against time to be fit for Wembley after missing Arsenal’s win over Barca but Arteta is sure to go with his strongest side, even if bigger games come thick and fast.
There have been four different Community Shield winners in the past four years, despite City’s domestic dominance. Pep loves Wembley, and rarely leaves defeated.
But he has also been quick to say this game means little in the greater scheme of things. As last time showed, you can’t read too much into this match – but who could turn down a big boost heading into kick-off?
|Man City to win||4/6 – 888sport|
|Arsenal||16/5 – PaddyPower|
|Draw at 90 mins||16/5 – William Hill|
Manchester City can’t seem to stop lifting silverware, so it’s no surprise they’re well backed again to give their arms another work out on Sunday. But they’ll want to avoid a repeat of the panic seen after their last Community Shield outing a year ago.
With this in mind, at Punters.pub our bet of the day is 9/2 on Bet365 which sees Manchester City to win, Erling Haaland to find the net and more than three goals to be scored.