The English Premier League season is just six days away, but two strong EPL teams â€“ Manchester United and Leicester City â€“ will already be involved in the FA Community Shield match on Sunday. This game is always played between the FA Cup winner and the EPL champions, which makes it an interesting affair before the season kicks off.
Manchester United might have suffered a poor season last time around, hence they were forced to sack Louis Van Gaal as well. They have a new manager in the form of Jose Mourinho, who is one of the best in the world. The former Chelsea manager has brought in some big names during the transfer window, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The duo will strengthen United, and add players like Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial in the mix, they are going to be a huge team this season. It remains to be seen the formation Mourinho will use in FA Community Shield. But this match against Leicester City is going to prove to be a stern test.
Manchester United has had a decent pre-season, winning one and losing two. However, their 4-1 loss against Borussia Dortmund did not reflect well about their team, but they will be keen to defeat Leicester on Sunday. Mourinho, ahead of the season, will also want to provide some of his key players more playing time during the FA Community Shield.
"The week of no work in China was really bad for us. So we need to train, we need to play, we need minutes for the players. Now we have no chance to train against other teams. We have Leicester before the Premier League and it is not a training session - it is a game," BBC quoted Mourinho as saying.
"We have to face it as a game. We have the chance to give minutes to some people. Some who I know cannot play for 90 minutes, but of course we are going to try to win it."
This is going to be a huge match for both the teams, as Leicester will also play to lift the shield at Wembley. Leicester were the standout team in the EPL last year, winning the title. They will be keen to perform in the FA Community Shield, and send strong warnings to other teams before the season starts.
Leicester's approach has been straight-forward, with their striker Jamie Vardy being the key player. Leicester will depend on goals from the England international, who will try to use his pace to exploit Manchester United's defence. Besides Vardy, manager Claudio Ranieri will also want Riyad Mahrez to put his best feet forward along with Drinkwater. However, they are going to miss the services of midfielder N'Golo Kante, who has signed for Chelsea.
Ranieri wants his players to forget last season's success and start afresh. The manager feels that the match will be a tight encounter, with both United and Leicester going for a win.
"We're ambitious but know it will be very hard. I forgot what happened last season. Now my focus is on the new season. All managers and players want to play at Wembley Stadium. It's one of the most famous stadiums in the world," Ranieri said.
"This is not a friendly. We will give the maximum and also Manchester United will too. Both teams want to win it."
Where to watch live
FA Community Shield 2016 contest between Manchester United vs Leicester City is scheduled for 4 p.m. BST (8:30 p.m. IST, 11 a.m. EST) start. Here are the live Tv and online streaming options.
India: TV: Sony Six/HD. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
UK and Ireland: TV: BT Sport 2. Live streaming: Watch BT Sport
USA: TV: Fox Sports. Live streaming: Fox Sports Go
Australia: TV: ESPN Australia
Middle East and North Africa: TV: Bein Sports Arabia 11. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Singapore: TV: Eleven Singapore
China: TV: PPTV Sport China, LeTV
Thailand: TV: Bugaboo TV, BBTV Channel 7
Malaysia: TV: Astro On The Go, Astro SuperSport 2