The Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini speaking at a news conference on Friday said that 8 of his players would miss the FA Community Shield tie against Arsenal. These players include, Captain Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaletta, Fernadinho, Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Alvaro Negredo, Frank Lampard and Bacary Sagna. The match, which serves as a curtain-raiser to the new Premier league season, holds every year between the winners of the Premier League and FA Cup. Manchester City known as the Citizens have played in nine previous editions winning it 4 times, while Arsenal, the Gunners, have appeared 19 times and emerging winners 12 times. To be conducted by referee Michael Oliver of Northumberland, the match would see a hopeful and energized Arsenal side battling with the ever rich and star-studded Manchester City squad, over who emerges the winner. Money raised from the encounter will be shared among registered charities and other good causes across England. Both clubs are also expected to receive $42,000, which they can donate to who or whatever charities or cause they choose.
The star-studded Manchester City side, who reportedly may sell their young defender Matija Nastasic to Arsenal, were Champions last term taking advantage of a Liverpool slip-up and are set to defend their title this term by the acquisition of Bacary Sagna, who arrived on a free from Arsenal, Fernando, from Porto and Frank Lampard who signed on a short-term loan from New York City FC. Apart from Alvaro Negredo, who is out with a metatarsal injury, the other players out of this tie had only returned to training this week after being given extended time off after the World Cup. Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaletta, all other players in the squad should be fit for the Community Shield match on Sunday. Manuel Pellegrini will field a strong side to execute this match and expect a strong opposition from the North London side, Arsenal. In his words: ‘‘Frank Lampard is not ready to play. All the players that arrive this Monday, Demichelis, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaletta, Bacary Sagna, Fernadinho, Lampard and Aguero, they have a special pre-season this week and next week. Negredo has at least two or three months that he won’t play. He is coming to Carrington again and he is working on different things’’.
This should make it even easier for Arsenal to claim a second title (no matter the irrelevance), this year, after failing to win the Emirates Cup last week. It looks very apparent that Manchester City would field a weakened side as a result of the players ruled out of this match. Arsenal, on their part would miss the 2014 FIFA World Cup winning trio of Per Mertersacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil, while others apart from Abou Diaby, who is ruled out with a pain in his back during a game against New York Red Bulls, will be available.
Arsene Wenger’s line up would reflect how high he rates this FA Community Shield.