Manchester United Vs. Manchester City, 2011 Community Shield: Preview

It's time for the Community Shield! Manchester United take on City in a game... that doesn't really matter at all. All right!

It's that time of year again, football fans. The Community Shield traditionally represents the kick-off of the English football season (only it doesn't, because non-Premier League teams are already up and running), and everyone's always massively excited to see the defending champions take on the FA Cup winners in an exhibition match. Massively. Excited.

Anyway, it's the Battle of Manchester exported to London Part II, with Roberto Mancini's Manchester City upstarts squaring off against Sir Alex Ferguson's United. Both teams have added significantly to their squads this summer, with the champions bringing in Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David de Gea while City have acquired the phenomenally talented Sergio 'Kun' Aguero to bolster their ranks.

Unless Chelsea's new manager Andre Villas-Boas turns out to be quite special, it's hard to see this as anything but a clash between the two most likely contenders for the Premier League crown. But it's still a pre-season clash, which means it has no significance whatsoever. 

That also means it's rather difficult to predict just how the teams will line up. With international friendlies in midweek, we're hardly going to see full-strength teams at Wembley, so it's really anyone's guess as to who we'll see taking the pitch on Sunday. Since neither team is actually trying to win, that also means tactics and strategies are irrelevant. This is just one more pre-season friendly before the real action begins, and the people taking it particularly seriously might do better to take a step back and save that energy for the new season.

There are some injuries to report for both sides. For United Javier Hernandez is out with concussion, Michael Carrick has an Achilles problem, and Rafael da Silva, Antonio Valencia and Duncan Fletcher are all doubts. City, on the other hand, will start Kun Aguero on the bench after the forward developed blister problems, and will also be without the services of Carlos Tevez, who is... off on holiday. At this point I will mention again that this match is super-important.

Anyway. The Community Shield will be held at Wembley Stadium at 2:30 PM GMT on Sunday. Be there, or be elsewhere.

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