London :The new season of the English Premier league kicks off next Saturday with Tottenham Hotspur entertaining Manchester City. However later on Sunday Premier League champions Chelsea face Manchester United in the annual community shield.
Both sides will be hoping to finish on top of the table come next May and while today's encounter will be nothing more than a meaningless friendly, victory for either side will given them a world of confidence.
The Red Devils finished 2nd best to the West London club last season. But Sir Alex Ferguson's wards will once again be among the favourites to lift the title come next May. With the season's kick-off only 6 days away, there is already a minor injury crisis at Old Trafford.
"For me, the likes of Rooney and Owen, Carrick - well Carrick will miss the start of the season - Vidic, we'll know better on Sunday. They'll definitely play part of the game. Evra won't be involved for a while yet", Sir Alex said.
Chelsea's double of Premier League and FA Cup last season was the first in the club's history.
However Sunday's game against one of their biggest rivals in recent seasons may have come too early for Carlo Ancelotti's men. Chelsea have had poor pre-season with just one win in four games.
"We need to come back to win because we lost too many games, they were friendly games, but to lose is never...we are not happy to lose too many games. We have a good opportunity to come back to win and start well this season", said the Chelsea boss.
Sunday's match will be the 3rd time in 4 seasons that these 2 teams have met in the season's curtain raiser. United won in 2007 & went onto complete the double of Premier League & Champions League later that season.
12 months ago it was Chelsea who came out on top. So clearly winning the Shield may count for more than just bragging rights.