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Community Shield: Man City vs Arsenal preview, team news, how to watch and prediction

The 2023/24 season curtain raiser is upon us as treble winners Manchester City take on Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

wembley stadium

The 2023/24 season curtain raiser is upon us as treble winners Manchester City take on Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Not too long ago, the Community Shield was billed as just a glorified friendly with very little importance. However, it’s reputation has enhanced in recent years with managers and players now seeing it as an opportunity to make a statement ahead of the new season and to get their hands on some silverware.

The Community Shield is traditionally played between the Premier League and FA Cup winners. However, since Manchester City won both competitions last season, the team that finished second is given the chance to compete for the trophy. Arsenal were last year’s runners-up, so the Gunners will be looking to avenge their title loss from last season when they take on City in London tomorrow afternoon.

Arsenal surprised many last season after emerging as Man City’s only rivals and mounting a serious title challenge. Ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, many pundits predicted the Gunners to struggle just to finish in the top four having not done so since 2016. They blew a terrific chance to qualify for the Champions League in 2021/22 when they missed out to Tottenham by one point and most thought they faced another stiff test to get themselves back in the top four.

However, Mikel Arteta’s men were the surprise package of the season and they led the way for 248 days. Sitting top of the Premier League table for so long, Arsenal had their first title since 2004 in sight and at the end of March they held an eight-point lead over City. Unfortunately for the Gunners, they imploded in April as injuries and a drop in form saw them win just three points from four games during the decisive period in the season.

Manchester City took full advantage of Arsenal’s slip and a 13-game winning streak saw them overtake the Gunners and win their fifth Premier League title in six years. It was heartbreak for Arteta and his players as they know they blew a golden opportunity to win the title, but the youthful Arsenal squad will have learned a lot from last season and will be looking to push on to go one better this campaign.

Arsenal have invested heavily this summer to improve their squad as they look to close the gap on Man City. They’ll also have Champions League football to contend with so Arteta knows he needs a stronger squad to cope with the extra games. Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice have all arrived for a combined £205m, so the North Londoners aren’t messing around and have shown real ambition in the market to build a squad capable of competing on all fronts this season.


However, it’s not going to be easy to beat a formidable Manchester City side. Pep Guardiola finally got his hands on the European Cup as a Man City manager after winning the Champions League to cap an historic season last campaign. The 1-0 victory over Inter Milan sealed the treble just a week after beating Manchester United in the FA Cup final. The players enjoyed themselves over the summer as they celebrated their success, but Guardiola will be demanding they are fully focussed to defend their titles this season.

Man City lost influential midfielder Ilkay Gundogan this summer after he joined Barcelona on a free transfer. Mateo Kovacic has arrived from Chelsea to replace the German international but there is no doubt Gundogan will be a huge loss for the Cityzens. Rihad Mahrez has also left to join the Saudi Pro League so Guardiola will be without two of his most experienced players this campaign.

Despite their departures, City still have a squad packed with quality and there is no doubt they’ll be the team to beat once again this season. Man City have dominated Arsenal in recent years having won the last 12 games between the two sides so they’ll be looking to continue that run and put down a marker ahead of the new campaign with another victory at Wembley tomorrow.

Team news

Arsenal have been dealt a major blow ahead of the game after Arteta confirmed at his press conference that Gabriel Jesus has undergone a minor operation on a knee injury that he picked up in pre-season. The Brazilian international is expected to be out for between 4-6 weeks so he’ll miss the opening few games of the new season.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has been carrying a calf issue recently and he’ll be given a late fitness test ahead of the Community Shield this weekend. Summer signing Timber is on stand-by to deputise at left-back if the Ukranian international isn’t deemed fit to start.

Folarin Balogun is also a doubt due to an ankle injury while Reiss Nelson could miss out with his own foot complaint. There is better news for Arsenal regarding the fitness of Bukayo Saka as the winger is set to return after missing the Emirates Cup clash with Monaco due to illness.

As for Manchester City, they’ll give a late fitness test to Kevin de Bruyne as the midfielder has been nursing a thigh injury in pre-season. The Belgian international has trained ahead of the game so he’s expected to be named in the squad.

Nathan Ake will also be checked over due to fatigue but he should be passed fit to start in defence this weekend. Otherwise, Guardiola has no other injury concerns to deal with.

How to watch

The Community Shield will be broadcast live on ITV at 4pm on Sunday afternoon. Manchester City tickets are available here to buy as their allocation isn’t expected to be sold out with many fan groups agreeing to boycott the match in protest against how match-going fans are treated by the broadcasting companies due to the late kick-off.  Arsenal will sell out their allocation at Wembley and it should still be a terrific atmosphere inside the ground.

For those who can’t get a ticket to watch the game in person and aren’t able to watch it live on ITV, there will be highlights shown later on Sunday night.


Arsenal held their own for much of last season and showed they can compete with Man City over the course of an entire campaign. However, in the games between the two sides they were beaten on all three occasions they met last season and Guardiola seems to have Arteta’s number.

Both squads are still trying to get back to their best ahead of the new season and this game should give us a good indication to where they are in their preparations. Arsenal should give a good account of themselves but City will probably be too strong for them in the end. Man City 2-1 Arsenal

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