Saturday, August 7, 2010

Community Shield Preview: Chelsea - Manchester United


Chelsea and Manchester United meet in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday hoping to collect silverware in their first game of the season.

The Blues secured their first ever Double last season when an emphatic 8-0 win over Wigan Athletic won them the league title for the first time in four years, before a 1-0 victory against Portsmouth at Wembley saw them win the FA Cup for the second successive year.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will be looking to emulate their achievements of the season before last, when they won the Premier League to complete a hat-trick of titles. Last season saw them win the League Cup and finish runners-up to Chelsea in the Premier League, so they will be determined to go at least one better than that. Their task may prove to be more difficult this season, though, as rivals Manchester City have strengthened over the summer and are ready to launch a genuine title challenge.

Both sides have had an indifferent run-up to the new season with players joining up at different times due to their World Cup commitments, but both Carlo Ancelotti and Ferguson have added new players to their squads.

Chelsea have brought in Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool for a fee believed to be in the region of £6 million, and are expected to complete the £18m signing of Benfica’s Ramires in the next few days, while United have signed youngsters Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez for undisclosed fees.

Ancelotti’s side have had a poor pre-season results wise. A 1-0 win over Crystal Palace has been followed up by three consecutive defeats away to Ajax, Frankfurt and Hamburg, prompting criticism of Ross Turnbull, Hilario and John Terry for defensive errors made in these games.

Manchester United began their pre-season with a tour of America where they beat Celtic, Philadelphia Union and the MLS All-Stars, but losses to Kansas City Wizards and Guadalajara prevented them from leaving the States unbeaten. A 7-1 win over a League of Ireland XI in midweek sends the Red Devils into Sunday’s clash on form and they will be looking to get one over on the Blues, who beat them on penalties at Wembley in last season’s Community Shield.


Chelsea and Manchester United Preseason Results

Hamburg 2-1 Chelsea
League of Ireland XI 1-7 Manchester United
Frankfurt 2-1 Chelsea
Guadalajara 3-2 Manchester United
Ajax 3-1 Chelsea
MLS All-Stars 2-5 Manchester United
Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea
Kansas City Wizards 2-1 Manchester United
Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
Philadelphia Union 0-1 Manchester United


Petr Cech will miss the start of the season with a calf injury so Hilario will take his place ahead of Ross Turnbull.

Didier Drogba has to settle for a place on the bench, while Alex (calf) and Jose Boswingwa (knee) are ruled out.

Carlo Ancelotti has named his starting line-up and has stuck with the same 10 outfield players who began the 2-1 loss to Hamburg on Wednesday.

Confirmed starting XI: Hilario; Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Essien, Mikel, Lampard; Kalou, Anelka, Malouda.

Manchester United

England captain Rio Ferdinand is again missing with the knee injury that ruled him out of the World Cup.

Brazilian duo Rafael da Silva and Fabio da Silva will also miss the game through illness, while Michael Carrick (ankle) has been ruled out for the first two weeks of the season.

Sir Alex, who has confirmed that Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney will play 45 minutes each, has given Patrice Evra an extra week off following his exploits with France at the World Cup.

Possible starting XI: Van der Sar; Neville, Vidic, Evans, O’Shea; Valencia, Fletcher, Scholes, Park; Owen, Berbatov.



Didier Drogba will undoubtedly play a major role for the Blues this season, and could make the difference this Sunday once again - as he has done so often. The Ivorian enjoyed his best season at Stamford Bridge last season, netting 37 times throughout the campaign on his way to winning the Premier League Golden Boot. Although the Ivorian is starting on the bench, don’t put it past him to be the match-winner.

Manchester United

The Red Devils’ key man against Chelsea could be new signing Javier Hernandez. The 22-year-old starred for Mexico at this summer’s World Cup and has already caught the eye of the United faithful, scoring on his debut after coming on as a substitute against the MLS All-Stars. Sir Alex has a tendency to start the players who did so well for him in the previous season in these kind of games, but the Mexican will be desperate to make an impact if called upon from the bench.


Always a tough one to call with the season not yet underway. Difficult to go just on pre-season results so I’m going for a tight game with Chelsea to win narrowly. United are still without Rio Ferdinand which could prove to be the difference if Didier Drogba & Co can start the new cseason the way they ended the old one.

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