After what has been a rather agonizing wait for the first professional game of the season, Chelsea look to kick off their campaign with a win against defending Premier League Champions Manchester City in the 2012 Community Shield.
What is usually a rather inconsequential game in the English football season, has created much hype and interest this time around given that the two richest clubs of English football will square of at Villa Park today. In what will be less of a match and more of a financial muscle-flexing and parading of their respective squads, a new-look Chelsea FC will look to stamp their authority as European Champions on an unusually unchanged Manchester City.
With a bunch of new signings in Belgian superstar Eden Hazard, Brazilian wonder-kid Oscar and slick German winger Marko Marin, Chelsea will look to play some beautiful football. With an unchanged solid defense at the back and the new influx of youthful creativity into the squad, Chelsea’s Russian owner will look to duel it out with City’s Arab owner as to who is the original money spending kingpin of the premier league.
Chelsea, now under former assistant and interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, have confirmed that they will be fielding an extremely strong squad as they expect to challenge with enough enthusiasm for each of the Seven Trophies they are eligible for.
Chelsea will unfortunately be without their new signing Marin, who is holding off a minor hamstring injury. He will not be risked. Chelsea are expected to lineup with experienced and in-form shot-stopper Petr Cech in goal. With a usual Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole back four. With Romelu Lukaku having joined former Chelsea player and assistant coach Steve Clarke at West Brom on loan Chelsea are left with only two out and out strikers in Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge. Torres is expected to lead the attack today. The main question that lies is who makes the cut for the 5 midfield slots as Di Matteo is sure to go with his Champions League winning 4-2-3-1 formation. Hazard is expected to start while Oscar will probably start from the bench.
Manchester City are reportedly without their central midfielder Gareth Barry and burly right back Micah Richards. Pablo Zabaleta will probably take his place then. The real toss up is between Lescott and Kolo Toure for the second centre back’s slot, with Toure the most likely starter. Samir Nasri will probably get a chance to shine after some neat performances at Euro 2012. As usual Sergio Aguero will lead the attack with Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez will most likely playing a support role in the wings or off the bench.
Big man Yaya Toure will as usual play in the central midfield. David Silva is a lock-in for his left wing role.
Joe Hart is out of the squad with a back injury, which will see Romanian keeper Costel Pantilimon make rare appearance.
Bench: Hilario, Paulo Ferreira, Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, John Obi Mikel, Oscar, Daniel Sturridge
Bench: Gunnar Nielsen, Gael Clichy, Joleon Lescott, Nigel De Jong, Adam Johnson, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko
Expected Result: 2-1 (Chelsea Victory)