It’s a tale of two Cities at Wembley this weekend, as plucky have-a-go-heroes Leicester face off against the inexorable Manchester club.
So will it be a far, far better thing than you’ve ever done before to stick a tenner on Jack Grealish to score on his debut for Pep Guardiola’s side?
On the one hand, this is the Community Shield, and not to piss on anyone’s chips it is essentially meaningless; attempting to read anything at all into this prelude to the season proper seems a pointless exercise.
On the other hand, in France, Paris Saint-Germain got beat in the Ligue 1 equivalent last week and French football fans were losing their minds.
In fairness, even If Man City get turned over here by Brendan Rodgers’s Foxes, nobody’s going to start predicting a season of woe ahead for Guardiola’s lavishly equipped team.
Still, it might fill a spare five minutes before the Premier League actually gets underway. So – do Leicester have a chance of besting City at Wembley this Saturday in the teatime kick-off?
City have won the last two Community Shields they’ve figured in, with three wins from their five appearances in the last decade.
Leicester have played in this event on two previous occasions, winning against Liverpool 50 years ago in 1971 – but more recently, they lost to Man United in 2016.
Still, Man City wound down their previous campaign in haphazard fashion, losing two of their final four games in the Prem, against Brighton and Chelsea, then losing to the Blues again in the Champions League final.
Against Leicester, though, the Manchester side have won four of the last five meetings between the two. The exception came last season, during that particularly madcap period when results had briefly gone utterly doolally, the Foxes winning 5-2 at the Etihad.
However, three of the last four Community Shields have ended all square in full time, with the result depended on penalties. In each of those matches, the score line was 1-1. If you’re expecting more of the same on Saturday, you can back 1-1 in the Correct Score market at 6/1.
It might be worth noting that each of the last four Community Shields have ended with fewer than 2.5 goals scored, too. You can back under 2.5 goals at 23/20.
And what of that man Grealish? The £100 million man is 8/1 to score first for City, which is a nice thought but possibly a bit romantic.
Maybe Kelechi Iheanacho is a better bet for the first goalscorer; he went on a bit of a tear last season with 12 league goals since February. The Nigerian is 21/10 to score at any time.
But Leicester have another option up front, in new striker Patson Daka. Signed from Red Bull Salzburg for £23m, Daka is just 22 but he was prolific in his last two campaigns in Austria, scoring 27 goals in 28 appearances last season, when he was also named player of the season as Salzburg won the league for the fourth time on the bounce.
The Prem is a step up for the Zambian, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts – but if he’s eager to make a good first impression, maybe he could be the man to back here. Daka is 13/2 to score the opener on Saturday.
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