Competition/Round: 2018 FA Community Shield – Final
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England, UK
Referee: Jon Moss
Assistants: Adam Nunn, Eddie Smart
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
Reserve Assistant Referee: Dan Cook
TV Info: BT Sport 4K UHD, BT Sport 1
Live Stream: BT Sport Live(UK); ESPN+ (USA)
The final preseason match before the upcoming English Premier League season has traditionally been the FA Community Shield. The competition, started in 1908, pairs the previous season’s Premier League winners against the victors of the FA Cup in what traditionally has been an enjoyable match.
Albeit a glorified friendly, this could prove to be an important match for Chelsea’s newly appointed manager Maurizio Sarri, as this will be the Italian’s introduction to English football. Moreover, the Italian is familiar with City manager Pep Guardiola’s style, as the two came head to head in last season’s UEFA Champions League Group Stage (when Sarri managed Napoli). Guardiola overcame Sarri in both legs, but with a more rejuvenated Chelsea squad returning from this summer’s FIFA World Cup, the Italian may seek to even the score.
Guardiola, on the other hand, will be sure to add to his trophy cabinet with a win on Sunday. Moreover, with the 2018 Summer Transfer Window shortly ending, this could be the final opportunity for some of City’s younger players to stake a claim in their future with the senior team. Therefore, an entertaining match should be is store.
After their respective preseason tours, Chelsea seem to be better prepared for this matchup. Whilst several of their players were away on international duty this summer, many of their national teams did not advance far in the tournament, and thus returned sooner to their club to attend their preseason tour. Moreover, in their final match away in Ireland, Sarri fielded a rather experienced and healthy squad. With a plethora of options available on his bench, Sarri will not hesitate to select a strong starting eleven as a victory on Sunday could provide early momentum at the start of the upcoming EPL season.
Guardiola, on the other hand, will not be as fortunate as several of his players made deep runs in this summer’s prestigious competition. As a result, the Catalonian fielded a weaker side during their preseason tour. Moreover, the first fixture of the 2018/19 season will see the Blues travel to the Emirates, where they face the Gunners on 12 August. Whilst Guardiola would like to add another piece of silverware to his cabinet, it is likely he will field a weaker side to avoid any injuries to his senior squad.
Caballero; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rüdiger, Alonso; Fabregas, Jorginho, Barley; Rodriguez, Morata, Hudson-Odoi
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Bravo; García, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko; Diaz, Gündoğan, Foden; B. Silva, Agüero, Sané
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Overall, Sarri and Guardiola will likely have different priorities in mind as they approach the start of the new EPL season. The Italian has had more time to experiment with his senior team, and was gifted with a more senior squad during the preseason tour. Chelsea should be better prepared for this match.
Guardiola, on the other hand, will be looking to the crucial opening fixture against Arsenal on the opening day of the 2018/19 EPL season. Moreover, should City seek to defend the EPL title, Guardiola will need a fully fit squad. Avoiding any unnecessary injuries in this fixture is vital, and it is predicted the Catalonian will field a younger side.
Therefore, a Chelsea side with a strong team chemistry and more experienced side may well be the victors of this match.
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City