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League Cup news
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Cup news: League Cup begins in September, no replays in FA Cup

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The domestic treble is still an option for the clubs of the Premier League despite the late start to the 2020-21 season.

The League Cup and FA Cup are both back for the congested new season of English football, albeit with significant changes to each competition.

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The former will jam four matchdays into September, while the latter has eliminated replays.

There’s also news regarding the Community Shields for men and women.

League Cup news

Premier League clubs will be busy early in their seasons.

League Cup action begins on Sept. 5 and Premier League teams will enter the competition days after the top flight’s Opening Day.

Chelsea and Man City may even play a League Cup game before they return to PL action if the Champions League clubs are given another week to prepare for the league’s Sept. 12 start.

Rounds two, three and four will then be played on consecutive midweeks, starting on September 15 and 16.

PL teams will enter the competition in those rounds depending on their 2019-20 league position, and that could see some PL teams play seven times between Sept. 12 and the first week of October.

There will only be one-legged semifinals this season, and the first-round draw will be held on Aug. 18.

FA Cup news

The FA Cup will begin its extrapreliminary rounds, also on Sept. 5, with 44 clubs from the top three divisions not participating until the third round proper in early January.

There will be no replays in this year’s tournament, which amplifies the chances for upsets on the way to the May 15 final at Wembley Stadium.

Arsenal beat Chelsea to win its record 14th FA Cup this past season.

FA Cup news
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick AUbameyang and Alex Lacazette celebrate after the FA Cup Final (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Community Shield

The FA also announced that its going to stage a special doubleheader of women’s and men’s silverware when the Community Shields are awarded on Aug. 29 at Wembley.

FA Women’s Super League champions Chelsea challenge Women’s FA Cup holders Manchester City three hours before FA Cup winners Arsenal tangle with Premier League champions Liverpool.

Guardiola reacts to Community Shield, Walker on wild clearance

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Pep Guardiola and Manchester City landed their first bit of silverware with a victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield, outlasting their Premier League title rivals in penalty kicks on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, and quickly turned his eye to defending the league for a second time.

“It was a good test for both teams,” Guardiola said. “It’s nice for the players to realize what they will face this season. At this level the difference is nothing. One penalty, one point. United will be back, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea… I don’t know what will happen.”

[ MORE: Player ratings | Recap ]

The pace of play was frantic, and there could have easily be seven or eight goals between the teams if Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, and Mohamed Salah had their finishing boots.

Sterling did score, early, and Joel Matip‘s late equalizer forced the match to penalty kicks, where Claudio Bravo saved Georginio Wijnaldum‘s effort in the second round.

It was a thriller, even if wasteful, with Kyle Walker making an incredible goal line clearance to keep the shield within reach. He also has the title on his mind.

“I’m a defender, I stop goals,” Walker said. “I’m glad I can help the team out this time. It’s too early to say, there’s a lot of good teams in this league but hopefully we can be up there or thereabouts.”

Guardiola wasn’t too worried about the second half pressure well-applied by the Reds, who probably deserved the win over 90 minutes.

From the BBC:

“An incredible final from both sides, no team can dominate for 90 minutes. We had real good moments, in the last 15 minutes we were exhausted and they had chances to win the game.”

As for the title, neither team was at full strength. Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, while City left Sergio Aguero and Ederson on the bench and also did not have access to Aymeric Laporte.

Manchester City wins Community Shield

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It took penalty kicks to separate Liverpool and Manchester City in a wasteful but entertaining Community Shield on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

Claudio Bravo‘s second round stop of Georginio Wijnaldum met perfect finishing from the reigning domestic treble champions after a 1-1 score line over 90 minutes.

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The Reds were dominant in the second half, but only found one goal before penalties.

Sterling tucked a delightful David Silva flick under Alisson Becker in the first half, but Joel Matip nodded a late equalizer past Bravo in the second half.

Leroy Sane limped off after just 11 minutes with an injury which could jeopardize a nine-figure deal to Bayern Munich.

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Sane lashed into the side netting after Raheem Sterling picked the pocket of an unaware Joe Gomez in the fourth minute.

At the other end, Roberto Firmino juggled to set up a left-footed lash right to Claudio Bravo.

The Reds probably should’ve been up when Firmino slipped Mohamed Salah into the box, but the Egyptian couldn’t turn his shot near the goal.

Sterling could, however, side-footing a flick from David Silva under Alisson Becker, who would’ve liked to have done better.

Salah looked for a quick response, cooking Oleksandr Zinchenko on the right before missing the near post again.

Kevin De Bruyne was also very much in preseason form in terms of finishing, and his scuffed shot turned into a Sterling chance which Alisson did well to save.

Sterling then beat the Liverpool line and Alisson only to hit the far post in the 48th minute.

The Reds were all over City in the early second half, and Liverpool fans were hoping the Goal Decision System would tell them Virgil Van Dijk leveled off a corner kick to no avail.

Salah then hit the post after Sterling partially blocked a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick.

Sterling should’ve made it 2-0 again, but the relatively wasteful forward dribbled directly into Alisson.

If Salah, Sterling, and De Bruyne were in peak finishing form, this could’ve easily been a 4-3 match, with the last name scuffing a low shot to Alisson in the 73rd.

Van Dijk kept a rally alive to set up Matip for a headed equalizer in the final 15 minutes.

Bravo made a fine save on Naby Keita in the 83rd minute.

Salah’s umpteenth chance of the game could’ve decided it in stoppage time, but Walker made an incredible goal line clearance and the ensuing corner was poorly served above the fray.

LIVE – Man City v. Liverpool in Community Shield

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David Silva captains domestic treble-winning Manchester City against Liverpool in the Community Shield on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

Liverpool qualified by virtue of its league standing, runners-up to Man City.

[ FOLLOW: JPW live at Wembley ]

Claudio Bravo starts between the sticks for City, who has Sergio Aguero on the bench and Aymeric Laporte in the 18.

As for Liverpool, the Reds are full strength aside from Sadio Mane, who is not in the 18. Divock Origi is in the front three, and Joe Gomez starts at center back ahead of Dejan Lovren.

LINEUPS

Man City: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Rodri, Silva (C), De Bruyne, Sane, Bernardo, Sterling. Subs: Ederson, Gundogan, Jesus, Aguero, Angelino, Foden, Garcia.

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Origi, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Lovren, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Shaqiri, Matip.

Community Shield preview: Man City v. Liverpool

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It’s rare that Pep Guardiola shows if his feathers are ruffled, but Friday saw the Manchester City manager rebel against criticism from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds’ manager has continuously downplayed Liverpool’s spending power as Liverpool has failed to land a marquee target this summer, pointing to Man City and Paris Saint-Germain as clubs who can spend every window.

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And Guardiola, who was outspent by Klopp last season, admits that the comments got under his skin. From The Manchester Evening News:

“It bothers me. Of course it bothers me, because it’s not true that we spend £200million in every transfer market,” said Guardiola. “That is not true. So it’s Liverpool, you’ll never walk alone, so it’s not a small team. It’s Liverpool. So of course I don’t like it, because it’s not true.”

Klopp, it must be said, has had trouble giving consistent answers about the summer, beginning the window with an admission that he was wrong in saying big transfer fees would not become the norm.

And Liverpool has not been playing well in the run-up to Sunday’s Community Shield against City. The lack of goals isn’t a major surprise given that preseason has mostly lacked Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino, but the Reds are also defending poorly.

All are back for the Shield fight, and City will only be missing Fernandinho who is still building back to fitness after Brazil’s Copa America run.

And Pep is ready, perhaps with a little extra fire from Klopp under an engine which is always running pretty hot anyway.

The thrillers between Man City and Liverpool get a new twist this season with the former’s addition of Rodri, who looks every bit the player for a Guardiola system.

He, as well as the dogged legs of Liverpool’s trident, will probably be the difference on Sunday if City scoops up its first bit of silverware.

Sunday’s match-up will also show us how far this rivalry has come in recent seasons, as it certainly has the feel of a barometer match for the 2019-20 campaign. Who will lay claim to the shield: the Champions League victors or the domestic treble winners?