Community Shield: Sarri Baptism as Chelsea, Man City Lock Horns


Time: 4pm

Maurizio Sarri will make his competitive bow as Chelsea head coach when the Blues take on Manchester City in the Community Shield today.

The Italian took over from compatriot Antonio Conte last month after nearly wrestling the Serie A title from Juventus with old club Napoli last season. He could become the first Premier League manager since David Moyes in 2013 – in the same competition – to win a trophy in his first game.

Sarri said: “First of all I’m looking forward to playing at Wembley, because it’s my first time. The match will be very difficult for us.

“I want to win, because it’s very important to have immediately a trophy. But in this moment of the season it’s very important, the performance. We have to improve, of course.”

City manager Pep Guardiola is looking forward to starting a new rivalry with Sarri, and says his style will adapt quickly to the Premier League – having himself struggled with implementing his own style of play before City cruised to the title last season.

“I am happy that he (Sarri) is here in the Premier League,” Guardiola said. “I will learn a lot to see his team every weekend. I saw three games. He gets it, the team in a short time plays like he wants.

“I think it will be a good game, always Chelsea is a big rival. Antonio was, Maurizio will be too. The style of play will be perfect for English football.”

As usual, there will be no extra time if the scores are level after 90 minutes, and the penalty shootout is once again the ABBA system, rather than the standard ABAB that every other competition uses (including those that trialed the ABBA thing recently). Each team can use six of their seven named substitutes.

Manchester City summer signing Riyad Mahrez is available after overcoming the ankle injury he sustained last weekend.

Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are the only players not to return to the group after the World Cup, with Guardiola planning to go on condition over quality.

England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek returned to full Chelsea training this week and could feature, while Willian has now returned from his extended break.

Callum Hudson-Odoi looks set to continue on the left of a front three following his impressive performance against Arsenal in midweek.

Chelsea are looking to win the Community Shield for the first time since 2009, when they beat Manchester United 4-1 on penalties. They’ve failed to win any of their last four appearances in the Community Shield.

Manchester City last lifted the Community Shield in 2012, defeating this year’s opponents Chelsea 3-2 in a fixture that was played at Villa Park.

This will be the third meeting between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley, with City winning the most recent one in April 2013 (2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final).

Chelsea have lost each of their last two games against Manchester City – they haven’t lost three in succession against them since September 2010.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has previously managed on four occasions at Wembley (W3 D1), with all four games coming in a different competition (Champions League in 2011, FA Cup in 2017, League Cup and Premier League in 2018).

The last four editions of the Community Shield have been won by reigning FA Cup champions, with Manchester United in 2013 the last reigning league champion to do so.

Manchester City have won their last two matches at Wembley, both in 2017-18 – beating Spurs 3-1 in April and Arsenal 3-0 in the League Cup final in February.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero has scored five goals in his last five appearances against Chelsea, including a hat-trick in April 2016. No Manchester City player has scored more goals at Wembley Stadium than Sergio Aguero (3 – level with Yaya Toure).