Chelsea vs. Manchester City: 5 Players to Watch in the Community Shield

Stefan GouyetAnalyst IAugust 11, 2012

Chelsea vs. Manchester City: 5 Players to Watch in the Community Shield

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    The English Premier League is one week away and fans around the world are getting ready for the new season. Before that, Manchester City and Chelsea face each other in the 2012 Community Shield.

    This will be the two teams’ first competitive match since May so it’ll be interesting to see how fit the players are.

    While Chelsea have made a number of huge signings this summer, City haven’t bought anybody, making Roberto Mancini a little annoyed.

    This match will give Chelsea fans a glimpse of their new signings, particularly Eden Hazard, in action. For City supporters, they hope their team looks as good as it did at the end of last season.

    Here’s a list of five players to watch at Villa Park this Sunday.

Ramires

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    At first, Ramires had a hard time getting used to the English Premier League. Following his summer 2010 move to Chelsea, the Brazilian took time to really get settled in London. 

    When he did get settled, he was outstanding. In Ramires' second season for the Blues he showed his versatility and pace in midfield and was voted Chelsea Players' Player of the Year. 

    In 44 total appearances, the 25-year-old contributed 12 goals and six assists. Fans hope to see the same this season, starting with Manchester City on Sunday.

Eden Hazard

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    Hazard joined Chelsea this summer and has played pretty well in the preseason fixtures, especially in the match against Seattle Sounders.

    The Blues dished out around £32 million for the young winger and expect him to be at his best this season.

    Hazard’s first competitive test will be against City, which has one of the strongest defenses in Europe. We’ll see if the Belgian can make a quick change from the French Ligue 1 to the English Premier League.

Samir Nasri

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    While Samir Nasri had a good first season with Manchester City, he will hope for better this time around.

    The Frenchman moved from Arsenal in August 2011 for £25 million and instantly made his mark with three assists as City beat Tottenham 5-1. 

    However, Nasri's impressive form at the beginning somewhat died out in the middle of the season. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old still managed to assist nine and score five in his 31 league appearances.

    Samir Nasri was largely overshadowed by fellow midfielders David Silva and Yaya Toure in the 2011/2012 campaign. The Frenchman will want to make a greater impact in City's next season. 

Fernando Torres

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    Sunday's clash will be Fernando Torres' first competitive game since winning the Golden Boot in Euro 2012. 

    After a generally poor 2011/2012 campaign for Chelsea, the 28-year-old was only selected to start twice for the Spanish national team but still went on to be the best goal scorer of the tournament.

    Torres will want to show everyone that he is worthy of the award and that he will be able to replace Didier Drogba as Chelsea's main striker. 

Pablo Zabaleta

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    Pablo Zabaleta is one of the few players left at Manchester City who was signed before Sheikh Mansour's investment in the club. The Argentinian was signed in the summer of 2008 and has made over 150 total appearances for the Citizens.

    Zabaleta has had to compete with Micah Richards for the starting right-back spot since his arrival in 2008 and has been in and out of the first team.

    While the English defender made more appearances last season, it was Zabaleta who was picked near the end of the campaign, with the Argentinian even scoring in City's final game against QPR.

    With Richards ruled out of Sunday's clash, it is assumed that Zabaleta will start. The 27-year-old will want to begin the season with a solid performance.