Match Preview

Last updated : 05 August 2007 By


"It will be a competitive game, even though we have used it as a stepping stone in the past.

"I don't think you can avoid that because we will be up against a team that will be competing against us for the top honours in the forthcoming season. It will probably be more competitive than the FA Cup final because in that game there was tiredness in both teams and I couldn't get any more out of some of my players that day."

And this after Friday's Doncaster game:

"Darren and Mikael will play some part against Chelsea but other than that it will be the team that started against Inter Milan.

"There may be one or two changes but that is about it."

BBC Squads:

Chelsea: (from) Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Ferreira, A Cole, Diarra, Sidwell, Essien, Lampard, Robben, Mikel, Malouda, J Cole, Drogba, Shevchenko, Ben Haim, Pizarro, Terry, Carvalho.

Man Utd: (from) Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Brown, Bardsley, Pique, Simpson, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Silvestre, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher, O'Shea, Carrick, Eagles, Giggs, Rooney.


"I want to bring back the league because we lost it last year. We need to bring it back home.

"It was difficult last time because of the injuries we had, but despite that we won the FA Cup and beat a good Manchester United team in the Final.

"We know we can beat them. We are better than them. But in football, you can be better and still lose."


28°C and sunny according to the Beeb.

The Indie:

The battle of the summer is all but over and Manchester United's triumph is not in doubt. Even without Carlos Tevez this would have been a transfer window of epic proportions; now it becomes a lavish European spend-up that has totalled around £70m on four players. On Community Shield day tomorrow, the fond old notions of charity that once accompanied this game will feel as far away as ever in the lucrative new world of the £900m-a-year Premier League.

That Tevez was signed just two days before United and Chelsea square up to one another for the first time this season shows just how far the champions have fought back. While Owen Hargreaves, Nani and Anderson are outside bets to start at Wembley - Tevez will not be involved - they carry with them the weight of ambition and strength of a reborn United. Much the same as Andrei Shevchenko and Michael Ballack did for Chelsea one year previously.

The game, as Ferguson said this week, counts for nothing but the posturing means plenty. He may yet start with Anderson on the right wing, but if not he has Chris Eagles who has made the jump from the academy and reserves into the first team squad. Regardless, Ferguson has a vast squad now, one that seems almost impervious to injuries. It is not just the size of the fees United have spent, it is that they are being paid for defensive midfielders or young prospects from the relative obscurity of the Portuguese leagues that makes their spending so daunting.

For a club whose owners, the Glazer family, could not even refinance their £660m debt last month because of the state of the world's credit markets, it is a powerful statement of their own conviction. United's summer of spending should not go unaccompanied by mention of a deeply unpopular new ticket scheme that has made buying cup tickets compulsory for season-ticket holders which has meant that not all fans have looked upon this summer with joy.

"I have had too many pre-seasons to think this is exciting," Ferguson said this week, although tomorrow's game will give its hints about the season to come. One year earlier against Liverpool, Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard looked noticeably incompatible in midfield - a problem that never resolved itself. Shevchenko scored a goal against Liverpool that day and it was mostly downhill for him from last season's Community Shield.

The Observer:

Manchester United's meeting with Chelsea for the Community Shield marks the start of a new season bloated by the biggest transfer spending in Premier League history. More than £366million has been thrown at players and with four weeks of business remaining, total outlay could pass £400m.

For United, the league champions, and Chelsea, the FA Cup and Carling Cup holders, this afternoon's match is about bragging rights and little else. But Arsenal and Liverpool, the other members of the so-called Big Four, will be watching closely. Having finished 21 points behind United last campaign and having spent £60m between them this summer, they know that a serious challenge for the title is expected. Otherwise they, the other Premier League clubs and their fans may have to start contemplating the title being dominated by a Big Two for the foreseeable future.

As United manager Sir Alex Ferguson drily observed: 'They've added a bit to their squad, particularly their attacking options, so one thing for sure is that Liverpool and Arsenal won't want to be 20 points behind us again. You expect a bit of improvement there, don't you?'

The Sunday Telegraph:

Today's line-ups will give little indication of what Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho consider to be their best starting selections next weekend.

Neither will they tell us who is better positioned to win the title, although Chelsea's defeat by Liverpool in the corresponding game last year made people realise that they were beatable.

Due to the need to develop fitness throughout the squad, injuries to key players and some experimentation, Manchester United and Chelsea have used different systems and a variety of combinations throughout the pre-season and will do so again this afternoon.

However, the philosophies and visions of both managers on how to achieve winning football remains constant. Ferguson, with the help of his excellent coach Carlos Queiroz, wants his team to play with fluidity, imagination and pace while also allowing his match-winners to express themselves. Mourinho, in contrast, has achieved great success by ensuring that his team's tactical know-how, teamwork and functional capabilities are superior to those of the opposition.

Of course, Ferguson's side has many of the functional capabilities associated with Chelsea. Otherwise they would not have won the Premiership and Mourinho's team, likewise, show flair in his attacking play which is far superior to that shown by the majority of Premiership clubs.

Yet to dominate the Premiership, and win the Champions League, both realise they need to improve the slightly weaker aspects of their game plan. Addressing the weaknesses without compromising your strengths is the difficulty though.

Ferguson doesn't want to witness his midfield again being overrun by clever positional rotation and technical brilliance, as they were in Milan. Mourinho, too, must shudder when recalling how Liverpool's well-organised but inferior players blunted Chelsea's attacking potency on more than one occasion. Addressing the weaknesses without compromising your strengths is the difficulty.

So what have the two clubs done since the end of last season to rectify the imbalance between attacking flair and the more methodical approach? Ferguson has bought Owen Hargreaves because he will give them a more solid look. His role will be similar to the one Claude Makelele has perfected at Chelsea. He will play in front of the back four to protect the area in which Michael Carrick was so painfully exposed by Kaka in the Milan game.

He will also fill in for Gary Neville and Patrice Evra as they continually venture forward to supply width and penetration down the flanks. He is certainly athletic and competitive enough to improve United's resilience, but will his inclusion reduce the passing capability of the team?