This coming weekend. The Football League season in England will get underway as the 72 teams in the Championship, League One and League Two all get their league campaigns underway for the 2021/22 season.
Alongside the big kick off for those teams, the game that signifies the start of the new Premier League season, which gets underway a week later, will take place at Wembley. The Community Shield will pit the current Premier League Champions, Manchester City against the team that won last season’s FA Cup, Leicester City.
For Manchester City, it is a chance for Pep Guardiola to collect the trophy for a third time, having won it in 2018 and 2019 previously. The Spaniard is well known to value the Community Shield as a chance to pick up more silverware and as such, it is likely he will name a very strong side for the encounter with Leicester.
Leicester City have bolstered their ranks with a couple of interesting signings this pre-season, while holding on to all their key players, at least thus far. Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his team can upset the odds once again this time around, as they did when beating Chelsea to land the FA Cup back in May.
With both teams expected to be challenging at the top end of the table for honours and Champions League qualification places next season, it should be an intriguing start to the season and a good chance to gauge how much, or little, either team have advanced or fallen back from their performances last season.
The game kicks off at 5pm on Saturday evening in the UK and of course, the first game of the season is also a very big day for soccer punters too, who will all be looking to sites like bet365 Sport to enjoy a bet on the game.
If you want to do likewise and you are based in the United States, then don’t forget you can access a great selection of bets on a wide range of markets for soccer enthusiasts from all over the world at the excellent BetRivers Sportsbook.
Community Shield Preview
Pep Guardiola’s only signing this summer, so far, has been the acquisition of veteran goalkeeper Scott Carson on a free. However, City have been strongly linked with two England stars in Jack Grealish (from Aston Villa) and Harry Kane (from Tottenham) over the last couple of weeks and it does look likely that at least one of these players will arrive to bolster City’s attack.
Guardiola’s team does look lightweight in attack after Sergio Aguero left for Barcelona at the end of last season and as yet, City have made no signing to replace the now departed Argentinean legend.
That said, City retain all the star men from their Premier League winning season last year and that includes a very strong back line, led by Ruben Dias and of course, they have the quality of Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri in midfield.
After storming to the Premier League last season, City will be the strong favourites to win it once again, and also to win this game, but after a pre-season that has been interrupted by postponed fixtures and with a number of players late back to training following the Copa America and European Championships, it is going to be interesting to see just how ready they are ahead of the new season.
- Major Transfers Out – Angelino (to RB Leipzig), Sergio Aguero (to Barcelona), Lukas Nmecha (to Vfl Wolfsburg), Jack Harrison (to Leeds Utd), Eric Garcia (to Barcelona)
- Major Transfers In – Scott Carson (from Derby County)
- Linked With A Transfer Bid For – Jack Grealish (Aston Villa, £100m), Harry Kane (Tottenham – £120m)
Current Manchester City Squad
- Zack Steffen
- Arijanet Muric
- Scott Carson
- Ruben Dias (DC)
- Aymeric Laporte (DC)
- Nathan Ake (DC)
- John Stones (DC)
- Ko Itakura (DC)
- Philippe Sandler (DC)
- Oleksandr Zinchenko (DL)
- Bernard Mendy (DL)
- Joao Cancelo (DR)
- Kyle Walker (DRC)
- Rodri (DMC)
- Fernandinho (DMC)
- Ilkay Gundogan (MC)
- Yangel Herrera (MC)
- Kevin De Bruyne (MC)
- Bernardo Silva (AMC)
- Phil Foden (AMLC)
- Raheem Sterling (AMRC)
- Ferran Torres (AMR)
- Riyad Mahrez (AMRL)
- Gabriel Jesus (AC)
Man City Probable XI – (4-3-3) – Ederson, Walker, Zinchenko, Dias, Stones, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Foden, Mahrez, Jesus
Guardiola could opt to play with a false 9, perhaps pushing De Bruyne further forward into a more attacking role, or playing Sterling instead of Jesus. If he does opt to move De Bruyne into a more advanced role then Bernardo Silva would likely come into the team in his place.
Brendan Rodgers has had a good summer. Having kept hold of his key players such as Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Wilfried N’Didi, the Leicester boss has made three astute signings in attacker Patson Daka, midfielder Boubakary Soumare and the free transfer of Ryan Bertrand from Southampton.
This strengthens the Foxes in three key areas and freshens up the options especially in midfield and attack. Soumare looks the perfect foil to work alongside Ndidi in midfield allowing Youri Tielemans to play a more advanced role, although it does suggest that Hamza Choudhury may need to move on to secure first team football elsewhere.
Patson Daka is a great signing and offers them another option in attack and with Jamie Vardy not getting any younger, he looks likely to feature frequently this season.
The Foxes once again missed out on a Champions League spot right at the death last season, the second year in a row that has happened to them, but they look well set to make another push for the top four once again this season and they will certainly provide Manchester City with a test at Wembley this weekend.
- Major Transfers Out – Christian Fuchs (to Charlotte Ind.), Matty James (to Bristol City), Wes Morgan (Retired)
- Major Transfers In – Patson Daka (from RB Salzburg), Boubakary Soumare (from Lille), Ryan Bertrand (from Southampton)
- Linked With A Transfer Bid For – Ozan Kabak (Schalke 04, £22.5m)
Current Leicester City Squad
- Kasper Schmeichel
- Danny Ward
- Eldin Jakupovic
- Caglar Soyuncu (DC)
- Wesley Fofana (DC)
- Jonny Evans (DC)
- Filip Benkovic (DC)
- Sam Hughes (DC)
- Ryan Bertrand (DL)
- Luke Thomas (DL)
- Ricardo Pereira (DR)
- Timothy Castagne (DRL)
- James Justin (DR) (injured)
- Wilfred Ndidi (DMC)
- Boubakary Soumare (DMC)
- Nampalys Mendy (DMC)
- Daniel Amartey (DMRC)
- Youri Tielemans (MC)
- Dennis Praet (MC)
- Hamza Choudhury (MC)
- Marc Albrighton (MR)
- Harvey Barnes (ML)
- James Maddison (AMC)
- Ayoze Perez (AC)
- Patson Daka (AC)
- Kelechi Iheanacho (AC)
- Jamie Vardy (AC)
- Rachid Ghezzal (AMR)
Leicester Probable Team – (4-2-3-1) – Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Castagne, Soyuncu, Evans, Soumare, Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
I think Brendan Rodgers will stick with the majority of the team that served him so well last season and I think of the new signings, only Soumare may start, with the others on the bench. Harvey Barnes return is a big boost for the Foxes who missed him at the end of last season and they will also want more from James Maddison after his form tailed off over the course of the season.
Community Shield Tips
History shows that Leicester have won just two of the last eleven matches between these two teams, one of those a 5-2 win at the Etihad last season, but Manchester City have won all the other nine encounters, although two were on penalties in the League Cup after a draw after 90 minutes.
Last season, both teams won their away game, with Leicester winning in Manchester and City returning the favour with a 2-0 win at the King Power in April.
I think Saturday’s game will be a closer affair and while I am backing Manchester City to land the win, I think it will be by just the single goal as I think that City are still looking quite light in attack and until they address that, I feel they may struggle to find the goals that their possession deserves.
Take Manchester City to win at 10/11, and for the correct score market I would go for Manchester City to win 2/1, which is a 15/2 shot with bet365 Sport. Finally, another enticing option is the HT/FT bet which for the Draw/Man City option is a 4/1 chance.