The date on which supporters can buy their Community Shield football tickets for the 2018-19 season curtain-raiser is quickly approaching, with just five weeks to go until the anticipated meeting at Wembley Stadium.
This year, Premier League champions Manchester City face FA Cup winners Chelsea in the capital as both sides compete for their fifth triumph in the historic match.
As matchday starts to loom closer and closer it’s no secret that more questions start to be asked, one of which is simple – who will feature for their respective clubs?
Will the managers treat it like a pre-season game and rotate? Or will we see two full-strength teams battling it out for the first piece of silverware in the new campaign?
Here’s who we think will start on Sunday 5 August.
After Man City tore the 2017-18 Premier League apart and became the first team to ever reach 100 points in a 38-game season, they were never going to be expected to dive into the transfer market once again and spend hundreds of millions of pounds on new recruitments.
There will be a couple of new faces at the Etihad Stadium come August though, and it’s likely at least one of them will be on show from the get-go at Wembley for those who purchase their Community Shield football tickets.
Napoli defensive midfielder Jorginho’s £43m move to City is expected to be announced imminently, whilst Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez is also set to join after his devastation at a move not materialising in the 2018 January transfer window.
Jorginho is said to be seen as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho and is likely to start as the holding midfielder in Guardiola’s preferred 4-1-4-1 system, meaning those with Community Shield football tickets will be witnessing the Italy international’s debut.
Mahrez would be unlikely to start though, as the prolific front five of last term – Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané and Gabriel Jesus – should link up once again and cause havoc for The Blues’ back line.
City’s £250m+ defence will also reunite; Ederson, Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Benjamin Mendy will attempt to continue the bond which helped the club achieve the best defensive record in the top-flight last season.
There will still be incredible options on the bench including, of course, Mahrez and Sergio Agüero, emphasising the reason to buy Community Shield football tickets, but this is the most likely XI in the eyes of many and looks more than capable of lifting the trophy.
Predicted XI (4-1-4-1): Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Stones, Mendy; Jorginho; Sterling, D Silva, De Bruyne, Sané; Jesus.
There’s expected to be a bit more change in the Chelsea line-up from last season, and not just on the field with former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri set to take over current boss Antonio Conte’s duties in the dug-out following the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League last season.
Those who purchase Community Shield football tickets could see the debuts of three very good players – in-demand Roma goalkeeper Alisson, ball-playing Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly and Russia’s shining light of the 2018 World Cup, Aleksandr Golovin.
All three stars, if they were to sign before the match takes place, would be in Sarri’s starting line-up; replacing wantaway ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois, captain Gary Cahill and the ageing Cesc Fàbregas which would set up a more youthful side.
A back three of Antonio Rüdiger and Koulibaly either side of arguably the club’s best centre-half Andreas Christensen in front of Alisson would provide a tough test for City’s electric attack, but the midfield battle would be the most intriguing encounter of all.
You’d be lying if you said you wouldn’t buy Community Shield football tickets to solely get a first glimpse of a midfield duo of Golovin and N’Golo Kanté in between Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso marauding up and down the flanks.
Conte’s departure would increase the chance of Willian staying, which makes the prospect of a front three consisting of the Brazilian, Eden Hazard and Oliver Giroud a realistic one – Álvaro Morata could equally start but that’ll depend on what Sarri’s preference is.
Predicted XI (3-4-3): Alisson; Rüdiger, Christensen, Koulibaly; Moses, Kanté, Golovin, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Giroud.