So it’s finally reached the climax of what has been a pretty productive summer hiatus for Arsenal as we prepare to kick-off our season where the last one concluded. With a date at Wembley giving us the chance to get the 2014-15 campaign off to a winning start, the fact the Community Shield is essentially a glorified friendly is unlikely to be replicated in terms of atmosphere and effort.
Both Man City and Arsenal are riding high after winning ends to both their 2013-14 campaigns, and with the opportunity for the fans to get a glimpse of the new signings in semi-competitive action, the Community Shield presents a good opportunity to pick up where they left off in May.
We’ll be without our trio of German World Cup winners, who are each due back in training on Monday morning, and a thigh injury to David Ospina prevents him from having his first run out for the side.
The Emirates Cup gave Arsene Wenger the opportunity to give a first run out for his new recruits – Calum Chambers, Alexis Sanchez, and Mathieu Debuchy – and we’ll likely see each of them in action. The absence of Per Mertesacker and recent departure of Thomas Vermaelen will make room for Calum Chambers alongside Laurent Koscielny, and with Olivier Giroud still evidently some way from full fitness, the striking berth could be a straight shootout between Yaya Sanogo and Sanchez if Giroud hasn’t reached a higher level just yet.
City are definitely without their World Cup final trio of Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, and Martin Demichelis. Frank Lampard hasn’t trained enough to be considered fit, whilst Pellegrini has also confirmed they’ll also be without Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, and ex-Gunner Bacary Sagna.
Ramsey vs Toure: Each midfielder was central to their sides’ successes last season, and our Welshman has been in form in pre-season. Ramsey’s growing stature in the midfield makes him a more obvious target as each game passes, whilst Toure’s power and relentlessness invokes fear once he gets moving. Ramsey’s high energy will likely mean it is his primary duty to stop Toure influencing the game when in possession. Equally, Ramsey’s bold forward surges are a key to his effectiveness, and will require stymieing if City are to have success. Each are match-winners in their own right, and the game could boil down to who has the better day.
Calum Chambers vs Edin Dzeko/Stevan Jovetic: Depending on how Manuel Pellegrini plans on setting up his side, attacking-wise, could depend on the type of threat Chambers will face in his first proper game at centre-half. Dzeko’s box presence will require Chambers to prove himself in a physical battle, whilst Jovetic’s sleight of movement and ability on the ball could threaten in behind. The 19-year-old showed composure during his first outings in the Emirates Cup, but City will pose a whole new challenge.
I sense a close affair is on the cards in this one. Each side will look to impose their styles of play upon one another, and rustiness could be evident, most notably in both (weakened) defences. I think City will benefit from early exits in the World Cup of David Silva and Yaya Toure, along with Samir Nasri’s eventless summer, but with no Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis or Pablo Zabaleta in defence, they’re vulnerable. A 1-1 draw with a City win on penalties is where I place my money.