With the World Cup now just a distant memory, it’s time to get back into the swing of competitive club football, and Sunday sees the return of that annual football season curtain-raiser; the Community Shield.
This year’s contest sees FA Cup winners Chelsea take on Premier League champions Manchester City, in what promises to be a mouthwatering clash.
Both sides will likely not be fielding completely full strength sides, with certain players still recuperating from an exhausting summer of World Cup action.
But there will still be high interest in the game, and it will certainly be Chelsea’s toughest match of pre-season. Here are some things for Blues supporters to get excited about…
Perhaps the biggest excitment for Chelsea fans following the eventual appointment of Maurizio Sarri is that their team could be set to play some of the most attractive football in Europe. The Blues faithful have had to watch some ugly and pragmatic stuff down the years but now could be the time for some pure entertainment that hopefully has the results to match. And what a first game to see it in action.
Jorginho’s English debut
The midfielder has been hugely impressing since following Sarri to the Bridge, and Blues fans should be greatly excited to see him in action against the club that so nearly signed him themselves. The classy Italian has bossed pre-season games with his passing, but can he do it against Pep Guardiola’s collective masters of the art?
Callum Hudson-Odoi impact
The 17-year-old ripped Hector Bellerin apart the other day, and he can definitely do the same to Danilo assuming Kyle Walker is afforded some extra recovery time. Hudson-Odoi is an extremely bright prospect and Sarri has already said he’ll be given chances in the first team this season – expect him to get some minutes at Wembley.
A golden chance for English boys Drinkwater, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek
N’Golo Kante could miss this one after a strenuous but successful World Cup campaign, meaning there might be a free spot going in midfield for someone to stake their claim. Drinkwater, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek have all been linked with moves away from the club but may have the chance against City to show Sarri why they deserve to stay.
Loftus-Cheek will be the man the majority of Chelsea fans want to see start and play well given his promise, but Barkley hasn’t had too many chances to impress since moving from Everton in January and it could be exciting to see him released from the shackles.