So our sour relationship with the Community Shield continues. Let’s face it was never going to be easy. The reigning champions at Wembley with silverware on the line is a daunting prospect in its self, let alone when there is a total change in your team’s football philosophy and style. Chelsea found that out quite quickly on Sunday with Kun Aguero’s arrowed finish putting us behind after just 13 minutes. His second killed the game early in the second half with City in cruise control. Maurizio Sarri’s men were never really in the contest with Guardiola’s side pressing high up the pitch and forcing errors left, right and center. Jorginho has looked very comfortable in the games preceding this one but he will now have a real idea of what is to come. He barely had time to breath before being hounded by the City midfield and sloppy mistakes ensued.
How did the boys fair?
Our new boy was not the only one to endure a torrid day, with the rest of the midfield looking off the pace. Ngolo Kante will be vital for the coming season as none of the trio could halt the relentless tide that swept up field each time City won possession. The forwards were equally out of their depth, Pedro was ineffectual against Mendy and Morata looked woeful. The one good chance he had was shanked high into the stands accompanied by groans from the Chelsea faithful. The only bright spot from today’s game was the continued development of Hudson Odoi who looked a very real threat even against the experienced Kyle Walker. At the back is where things look really worrying. The change from a back three has unsettled Azpilicueta along with Marcos Alonso who are now playing in different roles compared to the last two seasons. The center back pairing of Luiz and Rudiger looked fragile from the get go and simply backed off every time City broke forward. David Luiz in particular showing up the fact he has not played competitive football for the best part of a year. The was simply far too much space afforded to City and against a side like that, you cannot spare an inch.
What to expect?
A fair result and a humbling at the hands of the Champions, but there is good news. Sarri now knows what to expect and will have got a real view of the players at his disposal in Premier League conditions. He will know what to expect in the coming weeks and where improvement is needed. Everywhere I expect, but so far as I see it, we have an extra week to prepare with the new information. I expect the starting XI to be very different once the season is well underway and hope that the players that have yet to return to action can get to grips with Sarri’s new system quickly. Our opening fixtures should allow us to do just that and with any luck, we should have a handy amount of points as we head towards the busy festive season. We have a squad that should adapt quickly to this new style of play going forward but in defense is where Sarri will have his work cut out.
The space we afforded City in midfield when they were attacking was nothing short of criminal. Every time City broke forward, the midfield were caught on the back foot and the center halves just back pedaled until they almost tripped over our goal keeper. The sight of Rudiger stepping away from Aguero as he received the ball from a gallivanting Foden will have the Chelsea coaching staff scratching their heads into the early hours of the morning. Considering the lack of protection our defense is set to receive this season we will need Andreas Christiansen to step up to the big leagues. The young defender will need to fulfill the promise of being the next John Terry if we are to have a prosperous season. The acquisition of ball playing center back is a priority.
The next few days will be crucial as the transfer window is on the verge of closing. Players will undoubtedly come in and hopefully the right players will stay, fingers crossed we have a decent goalkeeper between the sticks when we travel to Huddersfield on Saturday. Speaking of, the Terriers are a good side but even with our new boss, I am predicting a solid 3-1 victory to start the Sarri era.