Stadium: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, August 7 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)
Match Odds: Leicester 18/5 – Draw 13/5 – Man Utd 5/6
Leicester City take on Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday afternoon in the 2016 Community Shield, with both sides looking to start the new campaign in the best way possible, with just a week to go until the new season kicks off.
The Foxes will be appearing in the traditional curtain-raising showpiece for the first time since 1971 after winning the Premier League in stunning style last term. They are coming up against FA Cup winners Manchester United, who have won a record 20 Community Shield titles.
Both sides have a point to prove on Sunday. Leicester are looking to continue their fairytale story by adding some more silverware ahead of their title-defending campaign, while new United boss Jose Mourinho will be desperate to start his tenure with victory at Wembley.Embed from Getty Images
The Foxes won their only previous Community Shield appearance against Liverpool, recording a 1-0 win at Filbert Street 45 years ago to the day. Claudio Ranieri will undoubtedly be relishing leading his heroes out at Wembley for this one.
Leicester’s preseason has been mixed, however. Back-to-back victories over English minnows Oxford United and Nuneaton were followed by a penalty shootout victory against Celtic and then losses to European giants PSG and Barcelona.
The defeats to PSG and Barca will be particularly worrying for Ranieri as his stingy defence shipped eight goals in those two outings. They will need to be better at the back against the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney on Sunday.
All eyes will be on the new United striker here. He brings an aura of quality with him and will look to inspire the Red Devils’ attack into life after a far from convincing preseason run themselves.
Wins over Wigan and Galatasaray have been coupled with a heavy defeat to Borussia Dortmund and a dull 0-0 draw in Wayne Rooney’s Testimonial on Wednesday night.Embed from Getty Images
Mourinho must ensure his side play with the quality expected of them here, with Sunday’s game a perfect chance for the club to show their intentions ahead of what should be a thrilling Premier League season.
This will be Leicester’s first trip to Wembley since winning the League Cup against Tranmere in 2000 so it’s sure to be another special day for their supporters.
For United, this will be their 30th Community Shield appearance. They have won the showpiece event in five of their last six appearances and are favourites to add another victory this weekend.
Leicester’s only worry ahead of this one is star striker Jamie Vardy, who will face a late fitness test before Sunday’s game. He played 45 minutes against FC Barcelona earlier in the week and should be ready to go in time for the new season. Ranieri needs to decide if it’s worth risking him here, though.
Manchester United are definitely without Timothy Fosu-Mensah, while Bastian Schweinsteiger looks unlikely to get anyway near the first-team as problems between him and Jose Mourinho continue to harm his chances. Chris Smalling could make his return from injury, though may not start the game. Mourinho’s biggest decision will be who he chooses to start in attack surrounding Ibrahimovic.
Leicester City’s Preseason Form: W/W/D/L/L
Manchester United’s Preseason Form: W/L/W/D
Key Stat: Jose Mourinho has only won one of his previous four Community Shield matches. That victory came in his first attempt with Chelsea, who went onto win the league title that season. He will be hoping that a victory for United here can lead to the same fate.
Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – This will be the game that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will look to mark his introduction to English football in. He knows all eyes will be on him at Wembley and he will look to thrive under the pressure by helping United to victory.Embed from Getty Images