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2016 Community Shield: Leicester vs Manchester United Preview
As we arrive closer and closer to the start of the English Premier League season, last season’s FA Cup champions, Manchester United, square up against the league champions, Leicester City.
Wembley will host the curtain-raiser of the season as the Foxes go in search for their first taste of blood. United, however, will have a point to prove and show that they are worth being managed by arguably the best manager around at present. But just who will come out on top in this annual Wembley humdinger?
FA Community Shield | Sunday 7 August | Wembley Stadium | 17:00
To Win (90 mins)
Leicester City 32/10 | Draw 5/2 | Manchester United 8/10
Last season’s fairy-tale Premier League winners, defied hefty odds of 5000/1 and have now been priced up at 28/1 to defend their crown. Before the campaign gets underway, though, a trip to Wembley to take on the mighty Red Devils must be negated.
Led by Claudio Ranieri, Leicester played extraordinarily well and deservedly won the English Premier League. However, Ranieri faces an uphill battle for the upcoming season after losing “their engine”, N’Golo Kante to Chelsea.
Another player who could be on his way out is last season’s PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, with reports linking him with a move to Arsenal. But enough about speculation, the Foxes have prepared for the departures with the signings of Ahmed Musa, Nampalys Mendy, Ron-Robert Zieler and Luis Hernandez.
All four signings come to the Premier League with high reputations. Musa with his impressive knack for goals, getting himself into double figures over the past two seasons, despite being just 23-years old. Mendy (Kante’s replacement) might not have the same zest and aggressiveness in midfield, but finished as the French Ligue 1’s second highest passer with 2950 successful passes and an accuracy of 92 percent. Zieler’s 148 saves – the second in the German Bundesliga – and Hernandez’s 140 interceptions (highest in the Spanish La Liga) also earned them a move over to Leicester.
They still have the likes of Mahrez and Jamie Vardy to add to this new talent in the side. Vardy’s form last season saw him named as the 'Writers Player of the Year' despite missing out on the Golden Boot with 24 goals – just one short of top scorer Harry Kane. The Foxes will also need to keep hold of Mahrez, like they did with Vardy, or it could prove to be another massive loss.
With that being said, can Ranieri’s foxes maintain last season’s form and continue to let the good times roll?
At long last, Jose Mourinho’s first season as Man United boss is upon us… The ‘Special One’ comes into this game after just four friendlies in pre-season. Whether or not four games are enough for Mourinho to know his best team, only time will tell. However, one dares to question the brilliance of Mourinho after what the Portuguese manager has shown us in past years.
The Red Devils have strengthened with what was arguably the missing pieces of the puzzle last season. The signings of Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will prove to be deadly in the Premier League for the upcoming season. Not to mention the imminent arrival of former Manchester United graduate, Paul Pogba.
So this tie comes at the perfect time for Mourinho’s side to show what they’re all about by putting a marker down against the Foxes, hoping to take their place as champions. A debut goal in pre-season from Ibrahimovic was just a taste of what the Swedish powerhouse has in his locker. The self-proclaimed ‘God of Manchester’ is likely to lead the line for the Red Devils and will have the likes of Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial and club captain Wayne Rooney just behind him. Frightening right?
If last season is anything to go by, then we should be in for another 1-1 draw, after the sides split the spoils on both occasions in the 2015/16 campaign. But this is Mourinho’s United era we are talking about and it could be a completely different game, despite the Special One’s final fixture in charge of Chelsea ending in defeat against Ranieri’s side.
So the question is… how will Jose perform in his first season at the helm of Manchester United?
Verdict: Manchester United (8/10)
As much as we are all cheering and hoping Leicester would come out on top and go on to perform another miraculous season, we have to be realistic and ask ourselves… will that really happen again? My answer is no and it should start in this match. Back Manchester United to claim their first of many trophies that Mourinho is likely to bring to the club at a decent price of 8/10. The Leicester fairytale is over…