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Community Shield: Sane, Morata LEAD GOA LS CHARGE



Community Shield: Sane, Morata LEAD GOA LS CHARGE

English football fans will have their appetite whetted ahead of what promises to be a fierce 2018/2019 season as Manchester City and Chelsea battle for the Community Shield – a traditional season opener involving the league champions and the FA Cup kings. Both teams are fired up for this encounter which will see Man City – in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne -relying heavily on Leroy Sane while Chelsea will also be counting on their striking arrowhead, Morata, in the absence of playmaker, Eden Hazard. Sane, was one of the top performers for City last season but he was denied opportunity to show his talent at the biggest stage as he was left out of Germany’s team to the World Cup, a decision many believed boomeranged as the four-time World Champions had an ignominious campaign in Russia. On his part, Morata endured a torrid first season in England which has led to Chelsea seeking another main striker but the Spaniard would be keen to prove his critics wrong by having a great impact in this match.

Like Sane, Morata did not make the World Cup with Spain but his omission did not raise much eyebrows like that of the fleet-footed German. The Community Shield represents who will be regarded as the champion of champions and it is on this premise that both teams will want to earn the bragging rights to earn the status. Chelsea defeated City home and away in the 2016/2017 season but the Mancunians made the Blues feel the blues by repaying them with a double last season which in no small measure condemned them from action in this season’s Champions League. With the English League having the best collection of European coaches, this match will also bring Pep Guardiola and Chelsea’s new boss Maurisio Sarri to spotlight. After weeks of speculations, Sarri eventually joined Chelsea from Napoli where he almost put an end to Juventus’ monopoly of the Serie A.

Sarri, known as a smoking maverick, promised to bring along with him romantic football to Stamford Bridge, something that owner Roman Abramovich has constantly demanded and this may be a perfect audition stage for him as City have already laid down the marker for sumptuous football under Guardiola. However, the London club’s pre-season did not bring the expected result and Sarri knows that he is at a club where excellence is demanded all the time.

A case study is the fact that erstwhile coach Antonio Conte was still given the boot despite winning the league in his first season and also secured the FA Cup in his second and last season at the Bridge. On the part of Guardiola, it remains to be seen if the second-season syndrome that is associated with the declining of a club after a relatively successful previous one, will be experienced by the Citizens. Just like Chelsea who were beaten by bitter rivals Arsenal in their final pre-season game on Wednesday, Man City did not fare well in their in their pre-season –the highpoint of which was the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool, and Guardiola knows that all eyes are on his team who steamrolled to a record 100 point mark in winning the league last season in addition to their League Cup success. However, whoever triumphs in this clash will savour the pride which may put them on a higher gear for the season.

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