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No footballer genuinely looks forward to pre-season training. They may well be excited for the season ahead and the action getting back underway but every footballer views the hard yards of pre-season with a certain amount of dread.
The Community Sheild marks an important turning point when the season begins. By the time Man City and Liverpool take to the pitch at Wembley Stadium the Football League season will have already begun and Premier League clubs will be working on the details of their first match of their campaign.
Traditionally, the Community Sheild pits the winners of the Premier League against the winners of the FA Cup final. That’s not possible this season as Man City won both (in addition to the League Cup) so Liverpool, who finished just one shy of City’s tally of 99 points, are their opponents at Wembley.
Man City 10/11 (bet365)
Draw 11/4 (Betfred)
Liverpool 29/10 (Sportingbet)
(Please note all odds are correct at time of article publishing)
Last season will live long in the memory of every Liverpool fan. It was the Reds’ best performance in the Premier League with 98 points and just one defeat and they got their hands on the Champions League trophy for the sixth time. Jurgen Klopp said that his job was to change the mentality of the club into that of winners when he turned up on Merseyside and it’s fair to say he’s succeeded.
Klopp and Liverpool are now in a slightly strange position. They are both tasked with maintaining their brilliance in domestic and continental football and improving to try and get the better of one of the best teams in the history of English football. They’re chasing and being chased at the same time.
Man City’s position is clearer. They are the dominant force in English football so understand that every team will raise their game for a shot at the champions. Pep Guardiola said that last season was one of the most rewarding of his career given the way that City coped with the pressure of having to fight their way back in the title race. He would, however, much prefer things to run more smoothly this time around.
This is far from the most important match of the season for Man City. It is, however, a chance to show that they are still top dogs in England and we expect them to do just that by winning inside 90 minutes at 10/11 with bet365.
Draw 1-1 @ 13/2 (Sportingbet)
Man City 1-0 @ 7/1 (bet365)
Man City 2-1 @ 7/1 (888Sport)
Man City 2-0 @ 9/1 (Coral)
Draw 2-2 @ 12/1 (William Hill)
Liverpool 2-1 @ 12/1 (Ladbrokes)
Liverpool have been associated with exciting, attacking football ever since Klopp took over at the club. Although there was a move towards increased pragmatism at times last year, they are still a breathtaking prospect when in full flow. The Reds are sure to have their moments at Wembley and should make this an entertaining contest by getting on the scoresheet.
They do have slight problems in defence heading into the start of the season and results in pre-season are far from encouraging. Klopp won’t be overly concerned until the campaign gets underway but Liverpool fans won’t be quite as laid back if they concede multiple goals on Sunday. We think that’s a genuine possibility so suggest taking the 14/1 that Ladbrokes are quoting on the Man City 3-1 correct score.
Sergio Aguero 7/2 (Coral)
Raheem Sterling 4/1 (Totesport)
Gabriel Jesus 5/1 (Betfred)
Mohamed Salah 13/2 (Unibet)
Leroy Sane 15/2 (bet365)
Nabil Touaizi 15/2 (bet365)
Divock Origi 17/2 (888Sport)
Roberto Firmino 17/2 (Unibet)
Managers of other Premier League teams will be watching the Community Sheild with a certain amount of jealousy at the array of attacking riches available to both Guardiola and Klopp. The First Goalscorer certainly includes several world-class attacking players, each of whom have a chance of scoring the game’s first goal if they are given the chance to start on Sunday afternoon.
Many of the leading contenders played international football at the end of the domestic season and so are a little behind their teammates in terms of match fitness. Leroy Sane didn’t have that extra pressure on his shoulders so should be given the nod to start against Liverpool.
He’s also keen to show just how good he is whether to force his way into the first XI for Man City or to convince Bayern Munich to spend big and bring him back to Germany so the flying winger looks a good bet to score the first goal of the Community Sheild at 15/2 with bet365.
Man City to win the match at 10/11 with bet365
Man City 3-1 correct score at 14/1 with Ladbrokes
Leroy Sane to score first at 15/2 with bet365