The curtain-raiser for the 2016-17 English domestic season takes place on Sunday as Premier League champs Leicester City face FA Cup holders Manchester United in the FA Community Shield.
A showpiece event which dishes out the first-pierce of silverware of the season, many often overlook the importance of this game at Wembley Stadium.
Not this year.
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With Leicester looking to somehow repeat their incredible title-winning season, Claudio Ranieri‘s side will be up against it as they also prepare to play in the UEFA Champions League for the first-time ever this season.
For Manchester United, a new era has begun under Jose Mourinho as three new players have arrived (Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic) and Paul Pogba’s world-record transfer is edging closer. The Red Devils are doing everything they can to be back among England and Europe’s elite after finishing fifth in the PL last season under former boss Louis Van Gaal.
This game will be an intriguing clash to see where each side is at one week before the PL campaign kicks off. Leicester have taken some beatings against the likes of PSG and Barcelona during preseason, while United flew all the way to China for one game after the pitch debacle in Beijing.
In team news Jamie Vardy should feature for Leicester who are at full strength, while United have no fresh injury concerns.
ProSoccerTalk will have live coverage from Wembley Stadium on Sunday (kick off is 11 a.m. ET) plus reaction and analysis post-game.
Key stats (via Opta)
- None of the last five Community Shield winners have gone on to win the Premier League title that season – the last team to do this were Manchester United in 2010/11
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last 15 games in all competitions against Leicester, though this was a memorable 5-3 victory in September 2014 (W11 D3)
- 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)
- The only Wembley match between Leicester and Manchester United previously was the FA Cup Final in 1963, in which the Red Devils ran out 3-1 winners
- This is Leicester City’s first appearance in the Community Shield since 1971/72, in which they beat Liverpool 1-0 at Filbert Street. The Foxes were winners of the second division the season before
What they’re saying
Ranieri on playing at Wembley: “All managers and players want to play at Wembley Stadium. It’s one of the most famous stadiums in the world. This is not a friendly. We will give the maximum and also Manchester United will too. Both teams want to win it.”
Mourinho on United’s preseason: “The week of no work in China was really bad for us. So we need to train, we need to play, we need minutes for the players. Now we have no chance to train against other teams. We have Leicester before the Premier League and it is not a training session – it is a game.
Both teams will take this seriously and will want the razzmatazz of winning a trophy at Wembley a few days before the PL season has begun. United, on paper, has the stronger squad but as Mourinho mentioned, they are struggling to get everyone up to speed. Leicester has been all over the planet during preseason and the Foxes have looked uncharacteristically ragged in defense. United to win, 2-1.