What better way to kick-start the new season than by seeing two of English football’s grandest old names facing off at Wembley?
For both Arsenal and Manchester City, Sunday's FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's offers the ideal opportunity to get back to competitive action after a summer dominated by the World Cup.
A number of players on both sides will have mixed feelings about the events in Brazil but, with the new season upon us, they’ll now be focusing on domestic matters and an early chance to get one over on their rivals.
Arsenal v Manchester City
The FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's
3pm, Sunday 10 August 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on BT Sport
The meeting provides Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup winners with the opportunity to claim a 13th FA Community Shield title – a tally that would put them within striking distance of Liverpool, who currently lie second on the all-time list with 15 triumphs.
Manchester City and their fans will see the game bring back memories of their 3-2 win over Chelsea two years ago. Goals from Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri helped the Citizens to their first Shield title in 40 years.
Arsenal’s own FA Cup victory in May finally ended their nine-year wait for a trophy, with their win against Hull City providing a nerve-shredding afternoon to remember for Wenger and the club’s fans at Wembley.
Now, with a host of new signings – including Chile star Alexis Sanchez and Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy – the North Londoners will be hoping for more of the same this time around, particularly after Wenger signed a new three-year deal with the club in May.
“I want to stay and to continue to develop the team and the club,” he said. “ We have a strong squad, financial stability and huge support around the world. We are all determined to bring more success to this club.”
Premier League winners City will also be eyeing more silverware after adding former Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna and reinforcing their already formidable midfield with Brazilian Fernando and Frank Lampard on loan from New York City.
Having won the title in his first season in charge, Manuel Pellegrini will also hope that the clash with the Gunners is the start of another memorable domestic campaign.
“I think one of the most important things for me is to have an ambitious mind,” he said. “It is very important to win the title but these titles will not be useful the next year.”
A new start, then, but the same objectives remain. Game on.