Manchester United face Leicester City to contest the FA Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday. Last season, United and Leicester drew 1-1 in both matches, in which Leicester became the reigning Premier League champions. United was playing boring possession based football, which made them better on paper, but not on the pitch. Jose Mourinho has tried to change that, making United more attacking in the weeks leading to this match. United need to grab the bull by both horns and show their opposition this season just what they are capable of. Mourinho has signed Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – with another signing to come – Paul Pogba. The career of Bastian Schweinsteiger may have been ended by the Portuguese after he sidelined him from the first team, making him train with the reserves, which is the same as Victor Valdes did last season. Much has been made of this with some suggesting Mourinho was bullying the German, which is absurd.
United have a lot to prove this season, especially after the fear factor Sir Alex Ferguson has instilled into his sides has now been eroded away in the past three seasons – teams have been coming to Old Trafford taking points they may not have got under Ferguson. The dire management reigns of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal gave teams something to aim for – winning. and that is what they did, which was enough to shock supporters and the players made it seem like they just did not have the fight anymore – which was not great. Much like the season following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, United will contest the FA Community Shield, last winning it under Moyes in 2013 after beating Wigan Athletic 2-0 at Wembley. Leicester City may be the current champions of England, but their pre-season has not been the best and they could be destined for a tough season, especially after losing N’Golo Kante to Chelsea earlier this summer. Jamie Vardy rejected Arsenal, which was funny and the midlands club seem to be doing all they can to retain the services of Riyad Mahrez – one of their stand-out players last season.
United have a good squad, Mourinho has selected 22 players, with a 23rd on the way – a very good midfielder. The Portuguese manager feels that having a 23-man squad will be best for him, especially with the number of matches United will play this season, but he also suggested that he could have too many players – meaning some will be annoyed not to get much game time, which is to be expected. United will be looking to get back to the top of the Premier League, laughing in the faces of those who thought it would never happen again. Many thought United were doing a ‘Liverpool’ with the team not winning a league title since the last millennium, more than 26 years to be exact. United have been out of the limelight for three seasons now, the longest they have gone without winning the league title – just the second time in the history of the Premier League. The last time United had not won the title for three years, they went on to win three in a row from the 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons. Could this be the case this time? I would like to think so.
Manchester United have taken a 25-man squad to London for this match, 18 of which can be named in the playing squad, eleven of those starting and seven on the bench – six of those can be used during the match, or at least that was the case last year as Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0. Chris Smalling and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who were both absent from the match against Galatasaray a week ago have recovered from their injury/fitness issues and have both travelled with the squad. Smalling will, of course, be suspended for the opening match of the Premier League season against Bournemouth in a weeks time. Come on United!
Manchester United Form:
Everton 0-0 D, Galatasaray 5-2 W, Borussia Dortmund 4-1 L, Wigan Athletic 2-0 W
Leicester City Form:
Barcelona 4-2 L, Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 L, Celtic 1-1 (6-5 penalties) W, Oxford United 2-1 W
Manchester United Squad;
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone;
Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Matteo Darmian;
Midfielders: Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Antonio Valencia, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin;
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
Leicester City Squad:
Manager: Claudio Ranieri
Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel, Ron-Robert Zieler, Ben Hamer;
Defenders: Luis Hernández, Ben Chilwell, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Daniel Amartey, Danny Simpson, Marcin Wasilewski, Christian Fuchs, Yohan Benalouane, Ritchie De Laet, Liam Moore;
Midfielders: Danny Drinkwater, Matty James, Andy King, Marc Albrighton, Bartosz Kapustka, Jeff Schlupp, Demarai Gray, Nampalys Mendy, Riyad Mahrez, Gökhan Inler;
Forwards: Ahmed Musa, Jamie Vardy, Shinji Okazaki, Leonardo Ulloa, Raúl Uche, Tom Lawrence
Predicted Starting XI:
Leicester City 1-3 Manchester United