CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) returns for the new season with a look at Sunday’s Community Shield.
Leicester v Manchester United | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
Well where do you start with this then? The biggest Community Shield puzzle of recent times? Yeah, I’d agree with that. 2015/16 was no ordinary season so it’s fitting that the 2016/17 curtain-raiser requires deep thought.
This summer has been defined by a catastrophic decision to leave the EU, a wretched European Championships and people debating long into the night about how Leicester will fare this season. It’s been the ultimate pub topic. I haven’t quite figured it out yet to be honest.
My gut feel with Leicester though is that if they get even close to last season’s achievements domestically it will be astonishing. The mental burden of Champions League football and having to play as champions in the Premier League will surely take it’s toll on a bunch of players who I cannot possibly seeing being as sub-consciously motivated as last season.
Manchester United ain’t easy to figure out either. The long awaited arrival of Jose Mourinho happened in late-May and it will be intriguing to see if the Portuguese can work his magic on a club that have very much fallen from grace since the departure of their legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. Again, I haven’t worked it out yet.
Pre-season (for what it’s worth) has seen the champions lose comprehensively to Barcelona and PSG and draw with Celtic while Manchester United took a pounding from Borussia Dortmund and suffered a hold up when their glamour tie against Man City in China was called off.
This fixture has been generally positive goals-wise. Indeed five of the last seven renewals have gone Under 2.5 Goals while BTTS has copped in nine of the last 13 meetings. It’s an avenue I’ll walk down here.
Despite the odds very much stacked in United’s favour they offer no value for me against a side who were tough as teak last year. That may dissipate this time round but let’s wait and see before opposing them at cramped odds eh.
It feels almost like a free pass for both sides here (Jose Mourinho is certainly talking like that) and I’m inclined to think we’ll see an open game at Wembley.
Both teams notched in both encounters involving these sides last season and that’s the route I’m taking here. What do these sides have to lose on Sunday? Zilch. Enjoy the occasion and play away. At 10/11 I’m keen to be with BTTS.
Leicester v Manchester United – Both Teams To Score (10/11 William Hill)