Chelsea take on Manchester City in Sunday's FA Community Shield - the traditional curtain-raiser to the English domestic season. Expect fireworks when these two Premier League giants lock horns. But most notably, the clash brings together two coaches who share the same philosophy and hold a deep mutual admiration for one another.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield fixture, both managers were seen heaping praises on each other. Pep Guardiola seeming keen on learning something new from the Italian, while Maurizzio Sarri labeling the former Barcelona manager as 'the best coach'.
The Blues and the Citizens share the same number of Community Shields (4) going into this fixture. With both the sides looking to add to their tally and bag their first piece of silverware of the 2018/19 season, here's a look at five things to expect from this most-anticipated fixture.
Maurizio Sarri has portrayed a positive vibe since taking over the reins from Antonio Conte. Despite limited prep time, late-arriving players and high expectations, the Italian seems to have lightened the mood among the Stamford Bridge faithful after a period of drawn tensions within the club.
The Italian will want to announce his arrival on the English football scene in style, and he couldn't have asked for better opponent than Pep Guardiola to do that. Sarri likes to play attractive, attacking football, and City are likely to step up the challenge, which could make for a pleasing spectacle.
Sarri’s strengthened Chelsea's midfield ranks by brining along his trusted lieutenant from Napoli, Jorginho. The Brazilian-born Italian midfielder is an integral part of the Italian’s tactical blueprint, as he can help his team-mates adapt more quickly to different patterns of play.
However, after missing out on the midfielder's services, Pep Guardiola would be further disgruntled to see the 26-year-old turn in a major performance at the weekend.
Fans would've expected the clash to be a battle of the best, but it certainly fails to live up to the expectations. Many big names are set to miss out due the tie's proximity to the month-long World Cup.
Manchester City will be without England’s Raheem Sterling and Belgium’s Kevin de Bruyne. While, Chelsea pair of Olivier Giroud and N’golo Kante, who won the trophy with France wont feature, along with Belgian trio of Eden Hazard, Michy Batshuayi and Thibaut Courtois.
The arrival of Riyad Mahrez for around £60million represented City’s record transfer fee and surely guarantees him a key role at the Etihad Stadium. Despite suffering a knock during pre-season, the Algerian was declared fit for the clash against Chelsea.
City were a relentless threat going forward last season scoring 106 goals in 38 league appearances, and Mahre'z arrival adds more fire-power to their attacking options for the upcoming season
With many stars missing due to the World Cup, the managers could be seen giving some young players a run out before the start of the season. Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi, are two of the club's brightest prospects, and for fans and neutrals alike this could be a chance to see these two talented youngsters showcase their skills in front of millions.
The Wembley Stadium in London will host the FA Community Shield 2018. The huge stadium has a capacity of around 90,000 and is expected to be sold-out.
Date: 5 August 2018
Time: 7.30 PM ( IST)