FA Community Shield, Chelsea 0-2 Manchester City: 3 Key Battles that decided the game
- These player battles shaped the outcome of the FA Community Shield clash between Chelsea and Manchester City.
Premier League champions Manchester City cruised to a convincing 2-0 win over FA Cup holders Chelsea to lift the FA Community Shield for the first time since 2012, to mark the return of club football to England after what has been an eventful summer with the World Cup. Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri, who are close friends outside of their jobs, exchanged a few smiles in the tunnel before kick-off to raise the curtains on what could become a pulsating campaign.
However, there was very little difference in City's ruthless approach that earned them the plaudits last year as the defending champions certainly looked the part to dismantle a Chelsea side that is probably still far from what Sarri would have ideally wanted it to be in the first place.
A brace from Sergio Aguero was more than enough to put the game beyond any doubt and it could have easily been a routing considering the fact that City looked at their menacing best while going forward. They were only kept at bay by a number of crucial saves from Willy Caballero.
Chelsea will now face Lyon at Stamford Bridge in the International Champions Cup before kick-starting their 2018/19 league campaign away to Huddersfield Town. On the other hand, Manchester City will lock-horns with Arsenal at the Emirates to initiate their title defence.
On that note, let's take a closer look at 3 key player battles that decided the outcome of the game:
#3 Benjamin Mendy vs Pedro
Benjamin Mendy, who returned to the Manchester City line-up after a lengthy injury lay-off followed by a successful World Cup campaign with France in Russia, looked sharp ever since the start of proceedings at Wembley. The Frenchman was deployed in his natural left full-back role by Pep Guardiola on the night and proved to be a real handful for both Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta, the Spanish duo who guarded Chelsea’s right flank against the threat on offer.
Pedro was forced into his own half, during the majority of his involvement in the game, due to Mendy’s attacking exploits that helped City push forward in numbers. The 24-year-old was stationed almost at the half-way line during the entirety of the game, ensuring that Chelsea rarely pushed forward through the wide areas.
Furthermore, Mendy looked defensively sound and showed great composure in playing the ball out of the back to go with his excellent overlapping runs in-behind the Chelsea defenders.