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Curtain raiser in England

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The friendly fixtures are soon to be in the rearview mirror as the competitive action begins in England, with a trophy fixture no less!

Arsenal will face Manchester City in the FA Community Shield showpiece event which pits the FA Cup winners against the Premier League winners.

As the Cityzens won both last season, also combining the UEFA Champions League triumph to add their name to the list of teams that have won the treble, this fixture will be between them and the PL runner-ups.

Both sides have strengthened considerably in the market and the game will be a big litmus test of their title credentials.

Here’s the match preview, buildup, team news, and more as the Community Shield rings the starting bell for English football’s competitive fixtures at the top level!

Arsenal vs Manchester City preview

Arsenal have transformed their side to the tune of nearly £250 million since they fell agonisingly short of Pep Guardiola’s men in the PL last season.

Declan Rice is the marquee acquisition as Britain’s most costly player, but the likes of Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz are astute additions too.

Their pre-season went brilliantly, barring a loss to Manchester United. A 5-3 win against FC Barcelona was a highlight in what became a statement performance against a continental rival.

Mikel Arteta has set about putting his charges through the pace while giving his side tactical flexibility which the likes of Timber and Havertz provide.

Manchester City, on the other hand, continue whirring along seamlessly as a well-oiled winning machine under Guardiola.

A win against Bayern Munich was followed by a loss to Atletico Madrid which is unlikely to keep Guardiola sleepless.

Arsenal vs Manchester City predicted lineup

Arsenal team news

Arsenal are targeting David Raya but for now, Aaron Ramsdale remains undisputed first-choice in goal.

Jurrien Timber is set to make his competitive debut but he might start at LB, in another one of Arteta’s tactical quirks in fashioning him into an inverted fullback.

William Saliba missed the end of last season with a serious injury but he’s back in a big boost to the Gunners‘ plans.

Midfield has two sure selections in Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz, but Arteta might opt for Thomas Partey’s physicality over Jorginho at the base.

Attack picks itself, with Gabriel Jesus’ injury meaning Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka start alongside Gabriel Martinelli.

Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Timber, Partey, Odegaard, Havertz, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard

Manchester City team news

Kevin de Bruyne is the big injury worry for Pep’s side and he is unlikely to be ready for this one. Goalkeeper is fixed, with Ederson starting.

Gvardiol is on his way but till then, it’s an open shootout to partner Ruben Dias at centre-back. Manuel Akanji might win that for this game as his ball-carrying ability and left-footedness will help him evade Arsenal’s press by opening up passing angles.

John Stones and Rodri paired in the middle has resulted in great success for them which should continue here.

Mahrez’s absence would cripple most teams but City have enough firepower to still field a world-class attack. Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, and Jack Grealish should start behind Erling Haaland.

Predicted Man City XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Akanji, Rodri, Stones, Foden, Silva, Grealish, Haaland, Alvarez

Arsenal vs Manchester City prediction

Community Shield has also been regarded as a glorified friendly, but between these two teams, there is no longer a prospect of a friendly.

Arsenal will be licking their wounds after a failed title race and will be eager to inflict the first blow on their title rivals.

Manchester City are notorious for easing into the season then becoming a juggernaut later on.

Expect Arsenal to topple City here, but it won’t mean much in the longer view of things.

FootTheBall predicts Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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