Wembley Stadium is the venue for the traditional Premier League curtain-raiser on Sunday afternoon (16.00), as Arsenal and Manchester City will battle it out for the Community Shield.
Pep Guardiola’s side enter the encounter on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid, while the Gunners retained the Emirates Cup by beating Monaco.
It is the third year in a row that Guardiola’s men will contest the match, however they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in last season’s curtain-raiser and lost 1-0 to Leicester City in 2021.
The Premier League champions have a terrific strike rate against Arsenal, having won their last eight meetings with the north London outfit – including last term’s decisive title clashes.
Kevin De Bruyne is yet to fully recover from the hamstring tear that he sustained in the Champions League final, while Nathan Ake is expected to be fit for Sunday’s clash.
Mateo Kovacic could also make his City debut after switching West London for East Manchester.
As for Arsenal, former Man City striker Gabriel Jesus has been cruelly denied a reunion with his old employers due to complications with his previous knee injury, and the Brazilian will miss the first few weeks of the season after undergoing a small operation.
Oleksandr Zinchenko may also miss out due to a calf issue, while Mohamed Elneny, Reiss Nelson and Albert Sambi Lokonga are also on the treatment table.
talkSPORT #PickYourPunt – Man City to win in 90 minutes, both teams to score and Erling Haaland to score @ 10/3
As mentioned above, City have a great record in recent times, crucially winning the pivotal title clashes against the Gunners last season.
The Gunners have lost all eight matches with Guardiola’s side since beating them in the 2020 FA Cup semi-final. and additionally, Erling Haaland bagged in both Premier League clashes with Mikel Arteta’s side last term.
Both sides will want to lay down a marker ahead of the new Premier League season, although it’s important to not read too much into Sunday’s showpiece – City were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool in this game last season, and people were even questioning whether Haaland could cut it in the Premier League, before the Norwegian went on to lead the Citizens to a treble and scoring 61 goals for club and country.
Arsenal still possess plenty of quality going forward, and with it being so early into the new campaign, I’m not expecting City to be flawless at the back, so I fancy the Gunners to get on the scoresheet.
Highest-scoring half – Second half @ 21/20
Most goals have come after the break in the last two encounters between the sides so it could pay to bet on the same outcome again here.
In addition, both sides may take their time in growing into the game, especially with key players missing for both sides.
The second half has been the highest scoring in City’s last two encounters, and one of Arsenal’s last two contests, so I can see the goals coming late on in this affair.,