Goals in the Community
Ian Ogg previews Sunday's Community Shield between Manchester City and Arsenal and expects the goals to flow.
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The season's pipe-opener wouldn't be for everyone but it does provide an early opportunity to win a trophy and both managers have been engaging in some early season repartee with the Frank Lampard loan a talking point.
Bacary Sagna has become the latest to leave North London for the bright lights of Manchester which is another factor which should help bring a little tension and needle to the fixture even if he isn't in the squad.
However, the lack of importance attached to it in general terms has, arguably, been reflected in recent scorelines with 20 goals scored in the Community Shield in the last five seasons and this is an early opportunity to bed in and try out new signings and there's no reason to expect the fun to stop now.
Two of those games involved Manchester City (3-2 and 2-3, both against Manchester United) while Arsenal's most recent visits produced seven goals in games with United and Chelsea.
Over 2.5 goals looks banker material at around 8/11 while over 3.5 goals is severely tempting at a top price 2/1.
It's debateable as to what relevance Premier League form has on this contest but such a scoreline would be out of keeping with their recent clashes in the top flight. There was City's extraordinary 6-3 victory in December of course, but the reverse fixture ended one apiece.
The encounters in the previous campaign saw two goals in both fixtures while the clubs met on three occasions in 2011/12 with just one goal scored in each match.
The Citizens are a different beast under Manuel Pellegrini than they were in those days but one thing that hasn't changed is that they have had the edge, taking 11 points from a possible 18 and knocking Arsenal out of the Carling Cup.
The Gunners enjoyed their best campaign for some time last season but the pressure will be on for them to build on that and Pellegrini will be keen to nip any optimism in the bud.
Arsene Wenger has been the busier of the pair in the transfer market but he still has one or two key areas to strengthen whereas Pellegrini has only made one or two additions to a strong and settled squad with Yaya Toure having seemingly overcome his birthday blues.
Stevan Jovetic began to show signs last term that he has 'trained on' and the young Montenegrin has been in fine form in pre-season, netting twice against Milan and Liverpool and once against Olympiakos in their mini-tournament in the States.
It would be no surprise to see him given the opportunity to continue that run at Wembley and he's well worth considering at 6/1 to open the scoring with Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo amongst the absentees.
It will be interesting to see who starts up front for the Gunners with World Cup star Joel Campbell and Yaya Sonogo both being given - and taking - opportunities in friendlies while Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud are likelier to start, as they did in the one-nil defeat to Monaco.
Defeat there was far from the end of the world and nor will it be on Sunday but defeat for Arsenal remains the likeliest outcome despite Pellegrini opting to rest several key players following the World Cup.
Given the talk about goals, backing City to win and both teams to score is well worth considering and the odds about them winning in 90 minutes are perfectly fair but there is a doubt as to how concerned the favourites are about winning this and the preferred option is to back the 'overs' in what promises to be an open encounter.
Preview posted at 1600BST on 08/08/2014