Citizens, Gunners raise the curtain for English football festival

Community Shield preview, 6 August 2023

SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv can look forward to the English season’s traditional season-opening fixture, the FA Community Shield, which sees Arsenal face FA Cup and Premier League champions Manchester City at the Wembley Stadium on the afternoon of Sunday 6 August 2023.

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Manchester City, the all-conquering team of last season, will be looking to pick up where they left off, though manager Pep Guardiola has warned his team that continued success will be hard won.

“It is even more difficult to continue the title wins than to get them the first time. The first time, there is hunger, there is determination. To keep winning takes a strong mentality… and we will have to show whether we have this or not,” said the Spanish tactician.

Arsenal, last season’s Premier League runners-up, will be looking to continue their evolution under the stewardship of Mikel Arteta, and the arrival of Declan Rice to boost their midfield is a sign that the Gunners are determined to keep improving.

“I see him [Rice] like a lighthouse – that he is willing to put light in others and improve others and make the team better and that is a huge quality,” Arteta said. “For me, to be a midfielder you have to have that and he’s got it 100 percent. The way he talks and presents himself, the ambition he has and the passion towards the game. That is exactly what we needed.”

Key players

Erling Haaland – The Norwegian striker had a record-setting first season with Man City in 2022-23, and the frightening thought is that he may get even better. His first chance to send an ominous warning to defences in the Premier League arrives in this clash with Arsenal.

Declan Rice – Rice has been one of the Premier League’s best midfielders for the past couple of seasons and he will look to take Arsenal to a higher level with his excellent positioning, ability to drive the ball forward and all-round leadership.

Head-to-head stats

In head-to-head stats, Man City and Arsenal have met in 208 matches across all competitions since 1893. The Gunners have claimed 98 wins compared to 65 for the Citizens, while 45 games have been drawn.

The teams met in three matches last season (two in the Premier League, one in the FA Cup) and Man City emerged triumphant on each occasion, culminating in a 4-1 victory in their latest clash, at the Etihad Stadium in April 2023.

Battles to watch

Pep Guardiola v Mikel Arteta – Arteta has done an amazing job in turning Arsenal into title contenders, but Guardiola’s reputation as one of the all-time coaching greats was cemented with City’s treble triumph last term.

Rodri v Martin Odegaard – Man City’s defensive midfielder has become one of their most important players, but he will face a difficult challenge in trying to quell the threat of Arsenal’s creative and energetic Odegaard.

Jack Grealish v Jurrien Timber – Timber, who may well be deployed at right-back early in his Arsenal career, will have to be at his disciplined and dedicated best to keep tabs on the quicksilver Grealish.

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FA Community Shield broadcast details

All times CAT

Sunday 6 August 2023

17:00: Arsenal v Manchester City – LIVE on SuperSport Premier League, SuperSport Maximo 1, SuperSport Maximo 2 and SuperSport GOtv Premier League

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