Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview: Citizens welcome Mahrez to big stage on eve of season

Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview: Citizens welcome Mahrez to big stage on eve of season

Riyad Mahrez will likely play his first competitive Manchester City game, Maurizio Sarri taking charge of Chelsea for the first time in England.

OliverEmmerson
Oliver Emmerson

Maurizio Sarri faces his first test as Chelsea boss as the Blues face Manchester City in Sunday's annual curtain raiser to the Premier League season, the Community Shield. 

The game will likely see Riyad Mahrez turn out in City colours for the first time competitively, whilst Jorginho will almost certainly line-up for Chelsea against the team he was a whisker away from joining instead this summer.

Conte offers Sarri an early test

Chelsea have of course been afforded the opportunity to play in this fixture because of their FA Cup win last season, Antonio Conte's final game in charge before leaving in June.

With one league title and the FA Cup scooped in just two years at the Bridge, Conte will be a tough act to follow, with Sarri's main goal for this season being to return the Stamford Bridge outfit to the top four - securing Champions League football.

How they fare against Pep Guardiola's men will offer some indication of their progress, although the credibility of the Community Shield has been criticised in recent times with many suggesting that it's nothing more than a glamour friendly.

Guardiola looking to go back-to-back

Nobody has won the Premier League twice in a row during this decade, leaving record-breaking Manchester City looking to add another notch to their belt this year.

Pep Guardiola commented pre-match that he's 'ready to fight' for another title, and he'll do that aided by the club's record signing in Riyad Mahrez.

Having shaken off an injury to be fit for this clash, it'll be a good chance to see how Mahrez can add another weapon to City's arsenal ahead of the next ten months.

One man who may feel like a new signing is Benjamin Mendy, who could start his first competitive game since last September after overcoming an ACL injury. 

Does it matter?

Whilst Guardiola and Sarri have been key to stress the importance of the fixture pre-match, it often has little bearing on the outcome of the upcoming season.

The FA Cup winners have all gone on to win the Community Shield in the last four years, Arsenal scooping the trophy three times and not coming close to the league title after any win.

However, there is pride up for grabs on Sunday, plus the chance for these two clubs - currently tied on four each - to pick up their fifth Charity Shield.

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