FA Community Shield: Chelsea v Man Utd
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Date: Sunday, 8 August 2010
So, it’s the Community Shield today but whether this game will be the end of a pretty woeful pre-season for Chelsea or the game we’ll kick off the new season, I guess we’ll know soon enough.
Only a point separated us in the league last season and whilst very little has changed in terms of personnel over the summer, it has to be said United have looked the more convincing side pre-season. We parted company with Belletti, Ballack, Deco and Joe Cole, bringing in Benayoun, with Ramires to come. And whilst United haven’t involved themselves in transfer activity at all over the summer, they did add Smalling and Javier Hernandez at the end of the last campaign.
Despite a decent pre-season, Ferguson isn’t expecting a blistering start either from this game or United’s start to the season, suggesting “They (Chelsea) won the league and FA Cup last year and I do think you have to see the team that won the league as the ones you look at. We always take the long view, there is no point pushing players too early, so I don’t think we will get the benefit of these players until the third week of the season. The World Cup is probably the pinnacle of a lot of players’ careers. The intensity and profile of it means it does take a lot out of them and we have to give them a proper rest. It does mean early in the season there is a little bit of risk in terms of knowing players are 100% ready to be involved in these games.”
After a much less profitable pre-season for Chelsea though, Ancelotti is taking today’s game less lightly, stating “We need to win because we have lost too many games – we are not happy. We have to win and start the season well. I think that the players that came back (from the World Cup) are not 100% fit but they need to play. I think that it is an important game for both teams, because it is a very important marker for the season. It’s never an easy game against Manchester United. We want to do our best – Manchester United could be our most important opponent this season, like they were last season. “
Chelsea kicked off the pre-season with a win against Crystal Palace before losing to Ajax, Frankfurt, Hamburg and taking a battering against Wycombe. And whilst that particular defeat came against a side where Franco di Santo was described as our only ‘first-team player’ – and he doesn’t even play for the first team – it wasn’t exactly inspiring ahead of a season where these players are meant to start coming through.
United, on the other hand, have had a relatively successful pre-season both in terms of results and inspiration from new players, and not that their supporters are ever backwards when it comes to expressing their ‘belief’ but they can be excused for going into this one with more optimism than us.
On the injury front for Chelsea, Petr Cech, Bosingwa and Alex are all ruled out whilst Didier Drogba starts the game on the bench.
United will be missing Ferdinand and Anderson but despite earlier suggestions of Carrick being out for two weeks, the way he was running around in training yesterday suggests otherwise. Vidic, on the other hand, could be doubtful with his knee looking heavily strapped in training. Rooney and Owen will get 45 minutes each according to Fergie.
CHELSEA TEAM: Hilario, Ivanovic, Terry, Ferreira, Cole, Essien, Lampard, Mikel, Kalou, Anelka, Malouda.
Considering glaring differences in form coming into this game and the fact that Petr Cech won’t be between the sticks to save our arse, my money’s on us rounding off a miserable pre-season.