The Women’s FA Community Shield is making a return on Saturday, following a 12-year hiatus and will be played immediately prior to the men’s game for the first time at Wembley Stadium.
The match will be contested by last season’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League champions Chelsea and the current holders of the Women’s FA Cup Manchester City.
And Chelsea boss Emma Hayes is aiming to make it a clean sweep, with the Blues having won every major domestic trophy available to them apart from the Community Shield.
- Women's FA Community Shield
- 12.30pm, Saturday 29 August 2020
- Wembley Stadium connected by EE
- Live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer
“It's a fantastic way to open the season and everybody is really excited, we can’t think of a better way to get the season underway,” said Hayes.
“It’s nice to play Manchester City at Wembley for the first time because we’ve missed each other in finals by either playing in the semi-finals or not making the final at the same time.”
Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson has been a part of all those domestic cup triumphs alongside Hayes and has been relishing the opportunity to get playing the sport she loves again.
“We’ve all been feeling like children again since we’ve had the opportunity to resume playing,” said the Swedish skipper.
“The WSL is the league you want to be playing in this year and it’s really inspiring even though we know it’s going to be a lot more difficult for us and a lot more competitive.”
Meanwhile new City boss Gareth Taylor will have the opportunity to win his first piece of silverware in his first competitive game, having been appointed back in May this year.
And Taylor’s team has been grabbing all the headlines in recent weeks after signing two of last year’s standout World Cup winners, in Americans Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis.
“I’ve been really encouraged by what I’ve seen from the club so far and we need to have a really strong squad and that's going to mean competition for places which is what we want,” said the 47-year-old, a former Wales international.
“I think playing at Wembley will be great and it will be a great celebration because it'll help to raise the profile of the women’s game.
“If I wasn’t involved in the game, I would be there watching it myself or at least glued to the television at home.”
One of the players that is likely to feel the impact of that new competition for places is City midfielder Caroline Weir, but the 25-year-old is looking forward to the challenge.
“To have players of that calibre come in can only be a good thing and the experience they are going to bring with them, having won a World Cup last year, is going to drive us on to the next level,” said Weir, a Scottish international.
“Everyone seems to be in a good place physically and obvious Gaz [Taylor] has come in and introduced a new system that has taken up a lot of focus tactically but it’s great to kick off the season with such a competitive game.”
The Women's Shield match will also be screened to fans at home and around the world via our broadcast partners and on The FA Player, with the game being shown in the following nations:-
Sky New Zealand: New Zealand
ESPN: US, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.
For the rest of the world, watch the game on The FA Player.
Women’s football has grown exponentially in this country, and indeed all over the world, since the last FA Women's Community Shield took place back in 2008.
But one thing has been a constant in the interim; Arsenal winning trophies. The Gunners have won the past three Community Shields in 2005, 2006 and 2008 defeating Charlton Athletic and then Everton twice.
In fact, Arsenal have won on five of the eight occasions but of course won’t get to challenge for it this year, meaning it will end up in a new home whatever the outcome.
Here’s a look back at some of the memorable matches from the competition down the years...
Charlton Athletic had barely been formed when they contested the first ever women’s charity match against Arsenal at Craven Cottage but ended up with a trophy as the two sides shared the spoils following a 1-1 draw.
The Addicks had just acquired Croydon, who had won the league and FA Cup title the season before, and placed the club under the umbrella of Charlton Athletic.
The game was used to raise money for charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer and was the only time the title was shared before it then became the Community Shield.
Arsenal went on to win the inaugural Women’s FA Community Shield in 2001 with a 5-2 win over Doncaster Belles Rovers but 2002 represents the first year they were beaten in the competition.
Captain Katie Chapman and Sanchia Duncan were on the scoresheet for Fulham and only a fine save by goalkeeper Astrid Johannessen prevented Ellen Maggs from completing a hat-trick two minutes from full time.
Johannessen then made a crucial save from Faye White in the penalty shootout, which Fulham won 3-1 with Katrine Pedersen, Rachel McArthur and Mary Phillip all on target from the spot.
Arsenal’s 2006-07 season is arguably one of the most dominant performances ever from a British team as they won all six trophies that were available to them, including of course the Community Shield.
Arsenal had blown Charlton away at the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes the year before with a 4-0 win, during a period when the Gunners looked almost unbeatable.
In fact, Vic Akers had won the league and FA Cup double the season previously and therefore played Everton, who finished league runners up, at Alexandra Stadium in Crewe.
Club legend Kelly Smith opened the scoring with a delicious chip before new signings Karen Carney and Katie Chapman linked up for the latter to bundle home a second.
Rachel Yankey and Jayne Ludlow were both denied by the woodwork inside the same minutes but Gemma Davison sealed a 3-0 victory turning the ball home from a fumbled Lianne Sanderson cross.
The Gunners went on to win the league undefeated, FA Cup, UEFA Women’s Champions League and two further trophies to complete an unprecedented 'sextuple'.