The Community Shield is often laughed at. We're told it is a big deal, but really it is just a glorified friendly. More than anything, it signals the start of the new season, which is something anyone can get excited about. This season it's a Manchester Derby with United, the Premier League winners, taking on City, the FA Cup winners. As far as glorified friendlies go, this one is pretty damn good.
It is also very intriguing. Besides the rivalry aspect of it and the belief of many that the two Manchester sides are the two best teams in the Premier League, there is a some unknown with both sides. Both have a lot of newcomers who were expensive and will be expected to make an impact. Gene Um of SB Nation's Manchester United site, the Busby Babe, takes an in depth look at the match and thinks that the newcomers on both sides are one of the most important things to watch on Sunday.
* Newcomers: de Gea, Young, Jones, Aguero, Clichy - this will the most competitive scenario each side's supporters will get a chance to see their new acquisitions prior to next weekend when Premier League action begins. Is de Gea up to the task as the successor to the great Edwin van der Sar? Is Young capable of displacing the superb Park or Nani as first-choice on the left flank? Is Aguero capable of being of being City's talisman if Tevez departs? Quite obviously, none of this can be answered on Sunday but subtle hints can be provided.
As Gene says, nothing will be determined on Sunday. It's still just a glorified friendly with 38 real matches yet to be played, but that doesn't mean it's not interesting to see how the new guys do. How do they fit in with their new clubs? Are they capable of performing well enough to justify the large transfer fees shelled out for them? Even if it is a very small step, the Community Shield is step one in finding out the answers to those questions.