Man City face Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday. Pep Guardiola’s side completed a historical treble last season whilst the Gunners threw away an eight-point lead to finish second. City have won 12 successive Premier League matches against Arsenal and will want to start this season on a high at Wembley.
Man City Form
City had a sensational 2022-23 season. They won the league title thanks to an 11-match winning run with the 4-1 win against Arsenal in April seeing them take control of the title race. They celebrated the title by beating Chelsea 1-0 with nine players rested. After that, they drew 1-1 at Brighton.
City finished the league season with a 1-0 loss at Brentford as all attention turned to the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League finals.
They beat Man Utd 2-1 in the FA Cup before a 1-0 win against Inter Milan to win the holy grail. The side have played just three pre-season friendlies including a 2-1 win against Bayern Munich and a 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid.
Man City Team News
City have lost some key players in this transfer window. Ilkay Gundogan left for Barcelona with Mateo Kovacic signed from Chelsea to replace him. Riyad Mahrez was sold and no replacement has arrived just yet. Joao Cancelo has returned from a loan at Bayern Munich but he does not appear to be a big part of the plans.
Kevin De Bruyne and Nathan Ake were carrying knocks during preseason but both should be available for this one. Guardiola is set to use his usual 3-2-4-1 shape with the ball with Kovacic slotting into Gundogan’s role. Man City have agreed a £77.5m fee for Josko Gvardiol but the defender won’t arrive in time to feature in this one.
Man City Motivation
City have come off the biggest win in their history and this match will test their motivation. Guardiola’s side have sometimes started seasons a little slowly.
They will play to win this match and lay down a marker over Arsenal for the season ahead. The tempo may not be that high in the heat of August and with City not having played very many friendlies.
Arsenal were sensational at times last season but arguably threw away the league title. After seven wins in a row, they had an eight-point gap to Man City after 29 rounds of action. Costly 2-2 draws at Liverpool and West Ham saw them surrender 2-0 leads before a shock 3-3 draw vs. bottom-placed Southampton.
A 4-1 loss to Man City saw the title out of their hands. They rallied to win 3-1 vs Chelsea and 2-0 at Newcastle but some poor losses followed. They were thoroughly outplayed in a 3-0 defeat at Brighton and then lost 1-0 at relegation-battling Nottingham Forest. The final day saw a morale-boosting 5-0 win at home vs. Wolves. They’ve had a busy preseason including losing 2-0 to Man Utd, thrashing Barcelona 5-3, and drawing 1-1 with Monaco in midweek.
Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta is without Gabriel Jesus for this match after he had minor knee surgery. Folarin Balogun got 21 goals on loan at Reims last season but new signing Kai Havertz, Eddie Nketiah or even Leandro Trossard could be preferred as the number nine here.
Granit Xhaka has departed the club so Havertz may take that number eight role. Declan Rice will start as the holding midfielder Jurrien Timber has arrived at the back to boost options. Oleksandr Zinchenko is doubtful with a muscle injury to Timber or Takehiro Tomiyasu could play at left-back.
The Gunners have looked sharp and motivated in preseason and will want to stamp their mark on Man City ahead of the season. Expect an aggressive pressing game with plenty of physicality.
Arsenal will be keen to win this piece of ‘minor’ silverware and will attack Man City to hopefully gain a slight psychological edge over them.
Man City’s Erling Haaland scored 52 goals last season
City have won 20 of their last 24 matches
Man City have won 12 straight EPL matches vs. Arsenal
Arsenal have won just 3 of their last 9 Premier League matches
Arsenal have lost 2 of their last 3 matches
Arsenal have leaked 16 goals in their last 9 matches
City have the edge over Arsenal in direct matches and always beat them. The Gunners look a little fitter and more ready for the season based on preseason results and performances though. Both sides should score in this one but it’s hard to look past Guardiola’s side winning the match and Haaland scoring.