The official curtain raiser is upon as the 2015/16 Premier League champions Leicester City lock horns with FA cup winners Manchester United in the capital.
Ranieri’s Foxes captured millions of hearts doing the unimaginable and what is still inexplicable in more ways than one. They comprehensively won the Premier League thereby making an indelible mark in the history books of the most watched domestic competition in the world. But much of the attention post-season has been focused on how the tinker-man has managed to keep the majority of his squad together despite concrete interest from the traditional superpowers in English football. With the new season threatening to be even more fiercely competitive, it will be interesting to see how Leicester City perform – under the weight of ‘increased’ expectations.
For Manchester United, it’s another dawn. Thanks to Van Gaal, the Red Devils were finally able to celebrate winning a major trophy – a joint record amount of wins now in the FA Cup, but ultimately failed to achieve the bare minimum in the league. Having appointed a serial winner in Jose Mourinho – who himself suffered a shock season on a personal level, meaning he will want to give his all and bounce back in style at a club he’s always wanted to manage. Marquee signings and a miserable pre-season so far, a win at Wembley would certainly be the perfect start for him to ease him into his new surroundings at Old Trafford.
Claudio Ranieri has a full squad to choose from, as he confirmed in the presser which will include Jamie Vardy after a disappointing outing with England.
Unlike Ranieri, Mourinho has a few injuries to contend with – in the form of Chris Smalling and Timothy Fosu-Mensah who have just resumed training with the first team and are hence doubtful to feature on Sunday.
- The only Wembley match between the two teams previously was the FA Cup final in 1963, in which Manchester United won 3-1.
- Leicester’s last trip to Wembley saw them win the League Cup in February 2000, beating Tranmere 2-1.
- This will be Manchester United’s 30th appearance in the Community Shield. They’ve won the trophy on 20 previous occasions, a record figure (16 outright wins and four shared titles).
Jamie Vardy – Leicester City
Jamie Vardy, who else can be? The English forward had an outstanding season last year – breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League scoring record in consecutive games against Sunday’s opposition. He’s been the one key player that’s been integral to their hugely successful style of play and will be pivotal to the outcome once again when they do battle with Manchester United and especially against their new look back four.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Manchester United
Manchester United made a statement in the summer by signing one of the world’s greatest forwards in his prime in Zlatan Ibrahimovic who could not wait to play under his former boss Jose Mourinho. His character and winning mentality can do wonders at a club that are at crossroads now having done all they can to propel themselves back to where they think they belong. His fine form in pre-season suggests he still has it in him to deliver at the highest level despite some of the critics who he will love to silence.
Mourinho has only won this competition once in four attempts. Expect that poor record to continue.
Leicester City 2-1 Manchester United