Finally, the football returns, with Manchester City due to face Arsenal in the FA Community Shield today.
After a busy off-season thus far, attention now turns to matters on the pitch with the traditional season opener.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 5, 2023
The treble winners come into this game on the back of a successful tour of Asia. After two wins and a loss during the pre-season tour, City comes into this game ready to go with almost a full squad to choose from.
Nathan Ake picked up a slight calf strain during the 2-1 win over Bayern Munich. He missed the loss to Atletico Madrid but is expected to be fit to take his spot here. Pep Guardiola reported no other injury concerns during his pre-game press conference so the Premier League champions appear ready to go for this one.
New signing Josko Gvardiol isn’t expected to feature against Arsenal. His signing was announced yesterday by Manchester City, but the Croatian international may have arrived too late in the build-up to feature here.
There could be a debut for City’s other summer signing Mateo Kovacic. The Croatian midfielder impressed in his appearances during pre-season and has slotted seamlessly into Guardiola’s set-up. He seems ready to go for the Premier League champions since his move from Chelsea.
Kevin De Bruyne may feature in the Community Shield also. He didn’t make any appearances during City’s pre-season games. City’s Belgian playmaker has recovered from the hamstring injury he suffered in last season’s Champions League final against Inter Milan. With a solid block of training under his belt, De Bruyne may make his first appearance of the summer in the game.
Arsenal come into the game buoyed by three new signings. Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz all joined last season’s runners-up over the summer. They should all debut during the game at some point, as Arsenal hope their additions can take them a step further this season.
Gabriel Jesus will miss for Mikel Arteta’s men. The former City man has picked up a knee injury that will force him to miss the opening weeks of the new season.
Olexander Zinchenko may feature for the Gunners. The Ukranian full-back hasn’t featured at all for Arsenal during their pre-season games but is slowly on the mend from injury.
Bukayo Saka has recovered from illness and should take his place in the squad for Mikel Arteta. Saka was vital for Arsenal last season contributing _ goals and _ assists in a fantastic season for the England international.
The game has some interesting subplots for the traditional season opener. Last season the teams met three times, with Manchester City winning all three matchups between the sides. City’s victories over Arsenal were vital in the clinching of last season’s treble.
Arsenal will be eager to break Manchester City’s hold over them and send a message that they’re capable of beating Pep Guardiola’s men here. A strong performance by Arteta’s side can lay a platform for them leading into a new season starting next weekend.
The treble winners will equally be determined to maintain their recent domination over Arsenal to show they’re still the team everyone must go past to contend for silverware this season.
A cracking contest awaits in the FA Community Shield as the football is finally here for season 23/24.