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Community Shield: Arsenal and Man City to renew rivalry today

By primenewsghana
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Arsenal will be determined to prove they can once again challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title when the two sides meet in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

The traditional season curtain-raiser sees champions City face runners-up Arsenal.

Usually, the Community Shield features the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup, but Pep Guardiola's side won both last season - as well as the Champions League.

We take a look at how the two sides are shaping up as the new campaign approaches.

Statement signings

Declan Rice and Kai Havertz acknowledge each other during a pre-season game for Arsenal
Arsenal have strengthened the core of their team with Kai Havertz (right), Declan Rice (left) and Jurrien Timber

Arsenal led the Premier League table for 248 days in 2022-23, the most for a team who failed to win the title in English top-flight history.

Their challenge fell away as City finished in imperious form while injuries and fatigue took their toll on the Gunners.

Fans will have wanted to see some big moves in the summer transfer window to prove the challenge was not a one-off, and they have certainly done that.

England midfielder Declan Rice is the standout signing for Arsenal, having arrived from West Ham for £100m.

His arrival followed the recruitment of Germany international Kai Havertz from Chelsea in a £65m deal and Netherlands defender Jurrien Timber from Ajax for a fee which could rise to £38.5m.

Arsenal's first five Premier League games


Manchester City, meanwhile, have made two significant signings so far this summer with Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic arriving from Chelsea for an initial £25m and his international team-mate, defender Josko Gvardiol, joining for £77m from RB Leipzig.

City finished five points clear of Arsenal last term so the need to strengthen was less pressing than it was for the Gunners, although they did lose captain Ilkay Gundogan.

The midfielder played a key role in City's Treble win, scoring 11 goals in 52 games, and although he was offered a new deal at Etihad Stadium, he opted to join Barcelona.

How has pre-season gone?

Manchester City's Erling Haaland scores during pre-season against Yokohama F Marinos
Erling Haaland scored twice during pre-season with both goals coming in their friendly with Yokohama F Marinos

Manchester City embarked on a tour of Japan and South Korea over the summer while Arsenal headed to the United States.

City began with a 5-3 win against Japanese side Yokohama F Marinos, coming back from 2-0 down to win, then beat Bayern Munich 2-1 before losing to Atletico Madrid by the same scoreline.

Prior to heading to the US, Arsenal drew 1-1 with FC Nurnberg in Germany before thrashing an MLS All Stars team 5-0 in Washington.

The Gunners then lost 2-0 to Manchester United but rounded off their US tour with a 5-3 win against Barcelona.

Leandro Trossard top scored for Arsenal in pre-season with three goals, while new signing Havertz hit two. For City, last season's Premier League Golden Boot winner, Erling Haaland, scored two goals during the summer.

Speaking of Haaland...

The Haaland factor

'He was a natural goalscorer' - the making of Erling Haaland

The big advantage Manchester City have over any other side in a title race is Haaland.

The Norway international broke records left, right and centre last season - his first at City.

Haaland scored a record 36 goals in 35 league games to win the Golden Boot - and netted 52 goals, a record for a Manchester City player, in 53 games in all competitions.

Arsenal did not have quite the same focal point in attack as Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard finished as the club's joint top scorers in the league with 15 goals.

That didn't diminish their attacking threat, however, as they scored a club-record 88 goals in the Premier League and finished with 16 different scorers in the league - more than any other team.

Man City first five Premier League fixtures

'It's time to beat City' - what the managers say

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "This is what we want, fighting for every trophy. We have to prove that. What we did last year was not enough to win the big trophy and we have to be better."

On if there's extra motivation to beat City: "Yes. It's time to do it."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: "We know the situation we are in right now. We finish two weeks after Arsenal. We start two weeks after Arsenal.

"We are not in the best way. It is a final, hopefully our mentality can help us to compete and try to win the title.

"Every pre-season is when we won the quadruple or Premier League three times in a row, we think players will drop, but they are ready."

'Few would bet against City winning another trophy' - analysis

BBC Sport's Simon Stone:

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted his players started pre-season late because they ended last season in June with their victory over Inter Milan in Istanbul. That means they might be slightly undercooked given they have only played three pre-season matches.

City lost this fixture to Leicester and Liverpool in the last two seasons, so there is some truth to Guardiola's words. However, such is their winning mentality, few would bet against them achieving trophy number four (out of a possible five) in 2023.

This is the first significant test for Mikel Arteta's revamped Arsenal, which went so close to winning the title last year and have added £200m-worth of talent to their squad.

Jurrien Timber will play as an inverted full-back, whilst Declan Rice will clearly strengthen the Gunners in central midfield. And, with Gabriel Jesus ruled out, the addition of Kai Havertz provides another attacking option and improves the depth Arteta's side lacked last term.