Saturday, August 6, 2011

Community Shield Preview

Community Shield Preview
Manchester United vs Manchester City
Wembley Stadium, Sunday August 7th

One week before the kick off of the new Premier League season, the annual Community Shield takes centre stage. This year however, unlike recent seasons when it's been viewed (and treated for the most part by competing teams) as the last pre-season friendly and a final warm up, before the real season kicks off, there is a sense that it will be taken much more seriously.      

League champions, Manchester United, set out to retain the trophy they won in this fixture last year taking on their noisy neighbours and FA Cup winners Manchester City. The cross city rivalry has increased, since City became new money and the "Welcome to Mancherster" saga which developed after Carlos Tevez left United to join City, only added fuel to the fire.

Both sides have added to their ranks during the summer, United bringing in David De Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young to fill the gaps left by the departing Van Der Sar, Neville, Brown, O'Shea and Scholes while City have brought in Gael Clichy, Stefan Savic and Sergio Aguero. There has been little in the way of departures from the blue side of Manchester, however, as City struggle to offload big wage earners Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Adebayor, Santa Cruz and the afore mentioned, Tevez, who has made it clear he is desperate to leave the club.

Both teams will be seeking to put one over on the other, with City carrying the added incentive of adding more silverware to their newly dusted trophy cabinet, but United have been in fine form in their pre-season matches and have the experience in such situations. United will be without Javier Hernandez, who is recovering from concussion, and have doubts over the fitness of Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia, who both missed the club's tour of the US. City will be without Tevez who is scheduled to return to training the day after the match (although he has vowed never to return to city), but otherwise have a fully fit and huge squad from which to choose.

Written by Alex Noonan

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