Community Shield Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Manchester United

Competition: FA Community Shield – Leicester City vs. Manchester United

Stadium: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, August 7 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 18/5 – Draw 13/5 – Man Utd 5/6

Match Preview

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.

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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.

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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.

Team News

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.

Key Points

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.

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Score Prediction

Leicester 1-2 Man United – This should be an intriguing battle between two sides with a lot to prove in this season’s curtain-raiser. Leicester defied expectations for the entire season but will now need to try and handle the pressure of being Premier League champions. Just how much they rue the loss of N’Golo Kante remains to be seen, by Sunday’s game should give a good indication. For Mourinho and United, this is a huge clash. The Portuguese coach needs to hit the ground running with the first piece of available silverware and needs his side to put in an impressive showing here. United need this more and should just edge it.
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Community Shield Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Competition: FA Community Shield – Arsenal FC vs. Chelsea FC

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, August 2 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 9/5 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Arsenal take on Chelsea in English football’s traditional curtain raiser, the FA Community Shield on Sunday afternoon in what should be a gripping contest.

Some supporters claim the Community Shield is irrelevant, but these London rivals will see this as the ideal chance to get their season off to the perfect start and will be out to win the first piece of silverware of the campaign.

The Gunners won last year’s title, beating Manchester City 3-0 in emphatic style to claim their 13th Community Shield and first since 2004.

They are taking part as FA Cup winners once again and will be looking to continue their fine run of four-straight wins over the course of preseason against Singapore XI, Everton, Lyon and Wolfsburg. They have won the Barclays Asia Trophy and Emirates Cup over the course of July and will now hope to defend the Community Shield.

That will be a real challenge for the Gunners though as they have not beaten Chelsea in any of the last six meetings, with the Blues winning four of those.

Add that to the fact that Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and it’s easy to see why the Premier League champions are slight favourites.

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They come into the game off the back of their preseason tour of the USA, in which they faced New York Red Bulls, PSG and Barcelona in the International Champions Cup.

They failed to win any of those games in normal time, but did beat PSG and Barcelona on penalties after losing 4-2 to the Red Bulls.

Mourinho is a specialist in setting his sides up for big games and Sunday will be no different as he will want to stretch his unbeaten run against Wenger to 14 games and start the campaign with silverware.

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The Blues beat Arsenal 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first meeting last season before the two sides played out a lifeless 0-0 draw at the Emirates in April.

Team News

Arsenal look set to be without Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, David Ospina and Alexis Sanchez, while Mathieu Flamini is a doubt. Petr Cech should make his first official start in goal with Hector Bellerin expected to get the nod at the right-back.

Chelsea have no injury concerns after Diego Costa and Gary Cahill were both passed fit to play on Sunday. Cahill should start alongside John Terry in defence, though Loic Remy or Radamel Falcao could get the nod over Costa in attack.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/W

Chelsea’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: 70% of Community Shield winners have gone on to finish the Premier League season higher than the team they beat at Wembley in the curtain raiser.

Key Player: Petr Cech – The new Arsenal goalkeeper will more than likely lineup against his former club just a month after leaving his 11-year employers. He will need to be at his best to give the Gunners a chance of winning.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea – Expecting another tight contest between the London rivals, with Chelsea just edging it by the odd goal. Arsenal haven’t scored in any of the last five games against the Blues and need to change that record to have any chance of retaining their title in this early season treat.