City Hot Favourites to See off Chelsea in Community Shield
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City Hot Favourites to See off Chelsea in Community Shield

We’ve had the phoney war and while Sunday’s Community Shield between Manchester City and Chelsea will not be played at full tilt, it will be much more competitive than some of the pre-season encounters and will be a decent gauge for the Premier League season to come.

After romping to the Premier League title by 19 points last term, City have been somewhat circumspect in the transfer market. Their only business of note has been the purchase of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.

The Algerian is a top-class operator and City had to write a cheque for some £60 million to get him through the door, but you do wonder where Pep Guardiola will slot him into his side on a regular basis.

City’s preferred midfield four of Leroy Sane on the left, Raheem Sterling on the right and David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne through the middle had the beating of every side in the division. Mahrez’s preferred role is to play from the right and cut inside onto his left foot, but that would result in a change in style for a City side who encouraged Sterling and Sane to hug the flanks and stretch the play – allowing space for De Bruyne and Silva to weave their magic.

That sort of formation, with a player cutting in from the right, is not alien to Guardiola as a certain Lionel Messi used to do it to devastating effect for Barcelona. Dribbling is one of Mahrez’s key assets and his arrival certainly hands the manager a different dimension to hit rival sides with.

With Sterling still absent on account of his World Cup exertions, Mahrez will get an early chance to impress provided he can shake off the effects of an ankle knock picked up last month. He can be backed at 6.50 with 188BET to net the first goal against Chelsea.

City go into the game as favourites with 188BET at 1.59, and it’s of little surprise given they finished 30 points ahead of FA Cup winners Chelsea last term.

It’s a new Chelsea who will be in opposition at Wembley, with Maurizio Sarri in charge following the departure of Antonio Conte.

There’s no secret to how Sarri will set his side up, they will press hard when not in possession and pass the ball at pace when they have possession.

Chelsea have already won one battle with City this summer, as Sarri’s Blues beat the champions to the signature of Jorginho. The Italian will be key to the tempo Chelsea play and it will be intriguing to see how he gets on against City, who will not afford him any time in possession.

For those who fancy Jorginho to control the tempo and help the Blues secure silverware in the season curtain raiser, they can get 2.49 with 188BET.

It would be some feat were City to win the title by double-digit numbers again, but they have so much quality in their ranks that they are rightly strong favourites – and they can kick things off with a Wembley win.

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