Manchester City cruised their way to a 2-0 victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday afternoon as Pep Guardiola’s side bagged the first silverware up for grabs this season.
A Sergio Agüero double saw the Citizens surge past Chelsea, with the scoreline arguably flattering the west Londonders. The Premier League champions spent much of the game sitting comfortably in second gear, holding their opponents at arms length and launching stinging counter-attacks with aplomb.
Now, it’s often hard to take much from this traditional curtain raiser, especially after a disjointed World Cup summer, as both sides are usually still putting together their last minute preparations for the upcoming Premier League season.
However, the game did produce a number of talking points that will keep fans locked in debate until the start of the season, so here’s five things we learned from the encounter…
1. Manchester City Look More Than Ready to Defend Their Premier League Title
While Chelsea were admittedly poor against City, it would be unfair to take anything away from the clinical, counter-attacking masterclass served up by Guardiola’s gang on Sunday.
Perhaps only once or twice did City look in any real danger, as the strong defensive display coupled with the dynamism of their attacking stars produced the goods that have become the side’s trademark under the former Barcelona manager.
City absolutely stormed to the Premier League title last season, and on the evidence of this display – with a host of key players missing – the club look more than capable of retaining their title.
2. Chelsea Need a New Centre Back. Desperately.
It’s been a summer of major upheaval at Chelsea under new boss Mauricio Sarri, and early indications suggest that the switch to a back four has done little to solve the side’s defensive woes.
Time and time again, City were able to casually stroll through Chelsea’s defence with the nonchalance of a supermarket shopper perusing the cooked meats aisle. David Luiz was the key culprit, and was clearly targeted by Sergio Agüero as the game went on.
Antonio Rüdiger didn’t look much better, and Sarri would do well to splash out on a reliable centre-back to bolster his backline before the transfer window slams shut on Thursday.
3. Sergio Agüero Has Most Certainly Still Got it
With the likes of Gabriel Jesus chomping at the bit to step into Sergio Agüero’s boots, the club legend has responded in splendid fashion – netting his 200th and 201st goals for the club during the game.
The 30-year-old was at his clinical best against the Blues, and will have sent a message to his manager that he’s still the man to lead the City front line this season.
With a host of thrilling new stars joining the Premier League every season, it’s easy to forget just how strong a player Agüero is, and the Argentinian ace looks like he’s ready to fire on all cylinders again this season.
4. Cesc Fàbregas and Jorginho Should Not Be Playing in the Same Side
Let’s be honest here, folks: Chelsea’s midfield looked as disjointed as a freshly spatchcocked chicken on Sunday afternoon.
Now, this is most likely down to the fact that N’Golo Kanté – arguably the club’s most important player – is still away on World Cup duty. However, Sarri must learn an important lesson from the game – never to play Cesc Fàbregas and Jorginho in the same side.
Of course, both are quality players, but they are far too similar in terms of their creative roles, and the Blues were crying out for a midfield enforcer (Ruben Loftus-Cheek) or a more defensively-minded option (Danny Drinkwater) to provide some balance.
5. The Future is Bright For Both Sides’ Youth Players
It’s hard to get too excited about the Community Shield, but Sunday’s game did reveal a pleasing discovery for both sides: The youth are ready to shine this season.
Phil Foden looked incredibly comfortable alongside the host of experienced players in the Man City side, and showed icy composure in providing the assist for Agüero’s first goal.
And for Chelsea, 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odi was their best player on the pitch, and caused the Man City defence some moments of real peril with his direct, tenacious running.
A Blues academy graduate being given a shot in the first team? Now that’s a rarity these days…