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Community Shield 2011 Preview: Manchester United v Manchester City

by Al 5. August 2011 04:21

This year's Community Shield pits the two Manchester giants against each other, and if their recent meetings are anything to go by, it could be a slightly tastier encounter than usual.

The Community Shield is traditionally little more than a fitness-building exercise and curtain-raiser for the new season, but with local bragging rights at stake, a competitive contest is on the cards on Sunday.

Wembley has not been a happy hunting ground for Manchester United of late, having suffered two devastating losses there at the end of last season. They were first beaten 1-0 by Manchester City in an ill-tempered FA Cup semi-final, before a Leo Messi-inspired Barcelona put them to the sword with a 3-1 victory in the Champions League final.

But after a successful preseason tour of the US, including a 2-1 victory over Barcelona, and with Wayne Rooney firing on all cylinders, the Premier League Champions will be hoping to gain a psychological edge over their title-rivals at Wembley.

United will be without the injured Javier Hernandez, Michael Carrick and Rafael. There is better news, however, regarding Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia, both of whom are back in training and will challenge for a first-team place. With Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar now retired, United fans will be clamouring to see some of their side's £50m trio of new signings. Ashley Young, Phil Jones and goalkeeper David de Gea will all be hoping to feature.

Manchester City's pre-season has been dominated by Carlos Tevez's very public desire to leave the club, while Mario Balotelli has also confessed to being unhappy in Manchester. Icons favourite Sergio Aguero has arrived from Atletico Madrid to ease City's worries, however, and Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic have also come in to bolster the defence.

City boss Roberto Mancini has confirmed that the £38m Aguero will be given time to adjust to life in England, and will start on the bench at Wembley. Want-away Tevez, meanwhile, will not return to training with City until next week, so goalscoring responsibilities will fall to Balotelli and the Bosnian Edin Dzeko.

With the Premier League kick-off just over a week away, let's hope Sunday's Community Shield proves a worthy introduction.

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