The scene is set for the traditional curtain-raiser with the FA Cup holders Manchester United ready to take on Premier League champions Leicester City in what is likely to be an exciting FA Community Shield. Both teams are looking to open the competitive season on a high after a busy summer of big ambitions and high expectations and the upcoming event promises to be a highly competitive affair.
Can Leicester’s dream continue?
Dream season is over for Premier League champions Leicester City, who are likely to head into the new campaign without a couple of their key players. Tireless enforcer N’Golo Kante has already signed for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, while this week’s reports from Algeria claim that PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez has agreed on an Arsenal transfer and is set to become the second high profile first team member to leave the King Power Stadium. Claudio Ranieri has bolstered his team with players that are direct replacements for Kante and Mahrez and the fans are hopeful that Nampalys Mendy and Ahmed Musa will live up to the expectations. Former CSKA Moscow striker has already announced that he will be a good signing for the Foxes with his brace against Barcelona in the 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Catalan giants. Polish winger Bartosz Kaputska is another signing for Ranieri’s team, who is expected to soften Mahrez’s departure. Manager Ranieri claims Leicester City have not finished their transfer activities and it will be highly interesting to see what Premier League champions would look like at the beginning of the new season.
Matty James remains a long-term injury for the Foxes as the central midfielder still struggles with cruciate ligament rupture. One of the summer arrivals Yohan Benalouanre, former Fiorentina defender, has icked up a knock and is unlikely to feature in the Community Shield.
Red Hot Devils
Having seen their last couple of Premier League seasons end in utter disappointment, Manchester United as a global football force and a recognised sports brand have decided to make further steps towards bolstering their squad in attempt to get back on the Premier League throne. Louis van Gaal made way for his apprentice Jose Mourinho, who took over at Old Trafford towards the end of the last season. Plenty of personnel changes followed as Red Devils made a couple of high profile signings with the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Swedish heavyweight Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Manchester United have not finished with their transfer activity as Red Devils are edging closer to finalising a move for their former youngster Paul Pogba, who is a £110 million target for Mourinho’s team. Juventus starlet is expected to arrive before the Community Shield match and could be expected to be lined up for a quick debut following his highly anticipated return. What is more, Mourinho wishes to add some more depth to his backline and is believed to be preparing a move for Italy defender and Pogba’s teammate Leonardo Bonucci, who would be another major signing for the Old Trafford outfit and who would instantly boost United’s chances in the upcoming Premier League season.
Jose Mourinho is expected to shuffle his deck a bit as he keeps searching for a winning formula, but we can assume that he will be lining up his strongest starting XI against the Premier League champions. Bastian Schweinsteiger will once again miss the game as the Germany captain remains marginalised and banished from the first team.
Premier League champions are going through a difficult time as they have been awaken from their dream and forced to face reality. With big spenders investing a great deal of money in order to take away their crown this year, Foxes are likely to struggle to keep pace and their first competitive match of the season will be a good indicator of things to expect. Jose Mourinho’s heavily reinforced team are raring to go and we expect Red Devils to start their season with a trophy in their hands.
Top Pick: Manchester United 1.91 (10/11) @WilliamHill
Alternative Pick 1: Ibrahimovic to score anytime 2.40 (7/5) @BetFair
Alternative Pick 2: Both teams to score – yes 1.91 (10/11) @Bet365