You Rather Be In City Or Chelsea Boots Right Now?
Here comes an intriguing Community Shield clash. In the Sky Blue/Maroon corner English Champions, MCFC. In the Dark Blue/White corner, European Champions, CFC. Bring it on...
This could well be a cracker of a season's opener. It's interesting to see how the two clubs have faired this summer in both close season performance on the pitch and events off it.
In London, we're witnessing something of a squad overhaul as Roman Abramovich has begun to set about an ageing squad with rapidity despite the securing of a somewhat unexpected yet stunning European and FA Cup double. The axe has swung with gusto whilst bold signings have been made and doubtless will be made again before August is out.
In Manchester, an air of caution and an accent upon newfound stability has prevailed since the gold dust settled upon The Citizens first league title in 44 years. Since the lessons learned from 'Kakagate' radio silence has been maintained over potential transfer targets with dapper City gaffer Roberto Mancini straight batting the questions from frustrated anti-City brigade hacks crestfallen at the lack of opportunity to bemoan City's ruining of football again.
Back at Stamford Bridge it's clear that a summer of transition, not unlike the previous series for City whereby major surgery was afforded the team has led to a stuttering team performance that appears to have only strengthened Abramovich's determination to reinforce his effective. Certainly, events elsewhere in court cannot have helped maintain focus.
Up the M6 again and City can point to their most productive pre-season in many years despite as with Chelsea, the impact the club's representation at Euro 2012 has had upon the planning. Yet, key players like Carlos Tevez, Kun Aguero and Yaya Toure have benefitted from full involvement and it's crystal clear that squad morale is sky high.
Of the two Roberto's, few would deny that Di Matteo has the edge over Mancini where pressure is concerned. He will be expected to hit the ground running. Mancio, his control secured by a lengthy new contract bolstered by similar for his captain Vincent Kompany knows that being ahead of schedule, time will not be an issue and he holds the luxury of absolute support at The Etihad and from his Highness Sheikh Mansour. That said, it's widely accepted that City's ongoing situation whereby new blood has not come in has frustrated the cool for cats City gaffer.
There has been some concern generated across Planet Blue over City's absence of transfer activity, but should anyone really worry having seen Mancio successfully fuse a squad of hungry young internationals with plenty of miles to go on their clocks? This debate could run and run. No matter what, Chelsea's statement of intent has certainly thrown a gauntlet down in a title chase that may yet transpire to be more open than last season's battle with The Stretfords.
City and Chelsea Main Transfer Activity Summer 2012:
Kevin de Bruyne
Patrick Van Aanholt
With much of Chelsea's previous robustness removed, the potential blur of swashbuckling pass and move we could see up front at either end at Villa Park on Sunday is a mouthwatering prospect indeed and one of the reasons this correspondent believes that if Mancio can maintain the juggernaut momentum City showed towards the end of last season and if Di Matteo can rapidly gel his new recruits then these two sides could yet be going head to head for the title in the coming campaign.
Which camp do you think has the neccessary edge right now? Give us your views both here and in The VMC Forum
all times East Manchester
Sun 12 Aug 13h30 Chelsea, Villa Park, Community Shield ITV1 HD
Su 19 Aug 15h00 Southampton, The Etihad, PL
Sa 25 Aug 15h00 Liverpool, Anfield, PL
Sa 01 Sep 17h30 QPR, The Etihad, PL
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FIXTURES:
The draw for the 2012/13 Champions League Group Stage will take place in Monaco on Thursday, 30th August. The opening round of games will kick off in the week commencing Monday, 17th September.