Arsenal outstanding value for Community Shield
Arsenal are a tempting 9/4 with Coral to beat Manchester City in 90 minutes in the traditional season curtain raiser at Wembley, the Community Shield.
Considering the quality of additions made by Arsene Wenger this summer, in particular Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona for a reported £30m, then that is outstanding value. Since Theo Walcott’s injury at the turn of the year, the Gunners have lost that threat in behind opposition defences, but their marquee signing gives them this extra dimension in abundance.
For evidence of this, punters can look consistently at Sanchez’s World Cup displays. Scoring against Australia in the group stage and in the last 16 encounter with hosts Brazil, he also assisted Eduardo Vargas’ goal against then-reigning world champions Spain.
There are subplots aplenty for this Wembley showpiece, not least the number of ex-Arsenal players who could turn out for 5/4 favourites City. Bacary Sagna may join fellow Frenchmen Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, who were both overlooked by national coach Didier Deschamps for the World Cup and should therefore be fresh, in Manuel Pellegrini’s XI.
Both clubs could give respective new goalkeepers Willy Caballero and David Ospina the nod between the sticks. These signings have been made to push Etihad and Gunners number ones Joe Hart and Wojciech Szczesny.
Who will start at right back for Arsenal? It could be either £12m France first-choice Mathieu Debuchy or £16m teenager Calum Chambers. City, meanwhile, may hand uncapped Brazilian Fernando Reges a start in the holding role.
Pellegrini will also be pondering his striking options, with Sergio Aguero working his way back to fitness after injury on international duty with Argentina. Alvaro Negredo has a broken toe, and the Shield should come too soon for him to return.
Happily, Bosnia frontman Edin Dzeko is reportedly in talks with City about a new contract, while there is more to come from Montenegro international Stevan Jovetic in his second season following an injury-hit maiden campaign in England.
Odds on a draw at Wembley come August 10th, which would mean a penalty shoot-out, are 9/4 – just as likely as an Arsenal win – which make the latter option well worth a gamble.