Five talking points ahead of Community Shield
10 August 2014, 10:06
London - FA Cup holders Arsenal face Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday. Here are five talking points heading into the traditional curtain raiser to the top-flight season in England:
Will Sanchez make a good first impression?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger splashed out 35 million on Chile forward Alexis Sanchez in the hope the former Barcelona star can provide the kind of game-changing brilliance that can turn a team from title pretenders into serious contenders for the English crown.
In the absence of the injured Theo Walcott, the 25-year-old is likely to start on the right wing, where he has been deployed for much of his career, but Wenger believes he can also be a major threat as a striker.
Either way, Sanchez needs to get off to the kind of fast start that eluded Arsenal's club record signing Mesut Ozil last term.
Can Toure have his cake and eat it?
Yaya Toure was the colossus at the heart of City's surge to the title last season, but the Ivory Coast midfielder heads into the new campaign with concerns over his commitment to the champions after a series of disputes.
Toure's agent bizarrely criticised City for failing to provide him with a cake for his birthday, and then more seriously suggested the player had not been allowed to spend time with his dying brother.
Despite suggestions he was trying to engineer a move back to his old club Barcelona, Toure is adamant he wants to stay, but actions will speak louder than words at Wembley.
'New Adams' Chambers must justify Wenger's faith
Wenger continued to plunder Southampton for young English talent when he paid 16 million deal to sign Calum Chambers in pre-season, then immediately added to the weight of expectations on the teenage defender's shoulders by hailing his new acquisition as the next Tony Adams.
The 19-year-old has made only 20 starts in his promising career, with most coming at right-back, but Wenger, who also signed Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton in the past, sees Chambers as a heir to Adams, whose defensive acumen and passion made him an Arsenal legend, and has already moved the youngster to centre-back in the Gunners' pre-season matches.
Fernando aims to be a City slicker
City fans should get their first glimpse of the man nicknamed 'the Octopus' as Fernando prepares for his debut in the midfield holding role.
Signed from Porto for 12 million, the gangly Fernando earned his memorable label after he continually dispossessed Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney with his long legs during a Champions League match against Manchester United in 2009.
More of the same in a City shirt this weekend would quickly endear the Brazilian to his new team.
Jovetic back in the firing line
Plagued by injury and illness last season, Stevan Jovetic endured a frustrating first campaign in the Premier League, but the Montenegro striker is back to full fitness and showing why City boss Manuel Pellegrini bought him from Fiorentina for 22 million.
Given the chance to start while Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo recover from injuries, Jovetic has already scored four times in City's warm-up matches, prompting Pellegrini to say: "If he's fit all year, he will be a very important player for us."
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