FA Community Shield: Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview

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Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview
Birmingham, Aug 12: The curtain-raising fixture may not be considered that important in English football, but when Chelsea and Manchester City play for the Community Shield, expect both teams to fight for victory and start the new season on a positive note.

EPL 2012-13 Special

Premier League champions City face European Champions Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham. Kick-off at 6 PM IST on Aug 12.

Roberto Di Matteo's Blues' side won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the history of the London club. Although they achieved success abroad, their domestic performance took a big dip finishing sixth last season.

However, Chelsea's 'negative football' may come to end as owner Roman Abramovich has splashed £65 million to transform Chelsea into a global powerhouse and not only aim to retain the Champions League trophy but fight with City to reclaim the Premier League title.

The signing of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin, who play in attacking positions, indicates Chelsea's mission to dominate English football. Winger Marko Marin's injury means Brazilian Ramirez could replace him while striker Fernando Torres is set to fill in for legend Didier Drogba. The Spaniard will have to prove himself this season after showing promising signs of a comeback at Euro 2012.

But Chelsea's back-line is a concern after their shocking performance against Brighton. But big guns like John Terry, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill will fill the gaps in defence.

City, on the other hand, have been quiet in the summer transfer window so far. Roberto Mancini vented his frustration over sporting director Brian Marwood for not splashing the millions on potential signings.

The Citizens have not signed a single player this summer, the only club in the Premier League to do so. But with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure, City have what it takes to challenge any top side.

Striker Mario Balotelli and playmaker David Silva will be rested after not reaching full match fitness while Gareth Barry and Micah Richards are sidelined with injuries. Skipper Vincent Kompany is a major doubt after sustaining a calf injury in a recent friendly game.

Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata may start behind lone striker Fernando Torres as Daniel Sturridge fights for a place in Di Matteo's starting XI. Frank Lampard and Michael Essien will control midfield while John Terry and Gary Cahill are likely to start at the heart of the defence.

City will rely on Aguero, Tevez and Nasri while Yaya Toure will pull the strings in midfield. In the same fixture, the Citizens gave away a 2-0 lead against Manchester United last season and ended up losing 3-2. But stats are with City as seven of the last ten Community Shield matches have been won by the side who finished top of the league the previous season.

Chelsea's shaky defence may be a problem for the Blues but their attacking reinforcements may cause City some trouble.

Probable Lineups:

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech-Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole-Lampard, Mikel, Meireles-Ramires, Torres, Hazard.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart-Zabaleta, K Toure, Lescott, Kolarov-Y Toure, De Jong-A Johnson, Tevez, Nasri-Aguero.

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