Tomorrow if you didn’t know by now see’s Manchester United play Manchester City in the Community Shield held at the home of English football – Wembley Stadium.
The Community Shield is seen as the traditional curtain raiser for the English football season and whilst there is silverware on the line, it’s normally seen as a ‘friendly’ match which has little relevance or outcome over the coming season.
Tomorrow’s game appears on paper (well according to hype anyway) to be different. After all it’s not just a Manchester Derby but one that has certainly been built up ever since Roberto Mancini’s side won the FA Cup in May.
Without wanting to sound too controversial this game probably means more to City and their fans at the moment. After all at the moment they are riding strongly on the crest of a wave and with the ability to more or less buy any player that they want are now firmly challenging on all fronts.
Whether you like them or not, that’s a fact and unless their Arab owners suddenly lose interest in them (which is about as likely to happen as Emile Heskey is to win the golden boot this season) they will be firmly sitting at the top table both in England and on the continent for many years to come.
Due to that, this game means more to City as should they beat us, at least to their players and fans it will be a real physiological boost to them and confirm that they can beat us regardless of how much money they’ve spent.
So what can we expect from tomorrow’s game. What will be the key battles on the pitch?
Wayne Rooney v Vincent Kompany: The battle between our most dangerous forward and City’s captain will at least for the first half be key to the outcome of the game.
Kompany whether you agree with Mike Summerbee or not is one of the best defenders in the country and should this season excel in the captaincy for City. He did pretty well up against Rooney last season and our no.10 will know that he’ll have to work hard to take any chance tomorrow.
Nemanja Vidic v Sergio Aguero: United’s skipper will want to leave his mark early on this season and if he can keep City’s new signing quiet, it will be a great start to the season for him.
Aguero is similar to Tevez in that he’ll work hard to win the ball back, but unlike Tevez he has a tendency to stay up front more in the danger areas where he can really take advantage of defensive mistakes. Vidic will need to watch him like a hawk, keep his cool and lead by example to ensure United keep him quiet
Michael Carrick v Yaya Toure: Toure was defiantly one of City’s biggest success stories of last season and played pretty well against us last season. Of course in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley he pounced on a mistake by Carrick to bag City the winner.
That mistake aside Carrick had a good end to the season and it’s vital for his confidence that he does well if selected tomorrow and keeps the man mountain Toure from inflicting any damage on the United goal. Carrick will also need to switch the play well after breaking it up and will be key to getting the ball forward from midfield like he did so spectaculary well againgst Chelsea last season.
In terms of a prediction for the game tomorrow, as I stated earlier on in a predictions article (which you can read here), the game tomorrow will probably be a tight cagey affair. A moment of skill or a slight mistake will probably be the difference between the two teams and it would not surprise me if the game is decided by one goal, which hopefully goes to United.
What shall be interesting to see is how many minutes the key players for both sides get. With international fixtures coming up in midweek there’s every chance that those star players will more than likely be hauled of around the 60-minute mark to keep their national teams happy. So it could come down to whichever side has the majority of their first team players left on the pitch at the final whistle as to who wins the game.
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