Stage Is Set For English Season Curtain-Raiser To Shed Light on a Few Things

Bobby ChewContributor IAugust 7, 2009

LONDON - AUGUST 10:  Manchester United celebrate victory following a penalty shoot out during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Portsmouth at Wembley Stadium on August 10, 2008 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Finally, the Barclays English Premier League season is one week away! Before the season kicks off officially, Manchester United and Chelsea will clash in the customary season opener known as the Community Shield.
Although the Community Shield rarely attracts much attention, this season is a lot different from other seasons. With high profile names departing the English game, I have found myself wondering if the league will retain its status as the most watched league in the world. This traditional season opener will no doubt provide a platform to prove, once again, that the English Premier League is indeed healthy and progressing.

While watching come Sunday, I hoping several lingering questions will be answered.
I will be curious as to how Sir Alex Ferguson will change his tactics, as he has openly mentioned. Will United revert to an orthodox 4-4-2? Or will they try to accommodate all three forwards—Berbatov, Owen and Rooney?
How Manchester United will cope with the loss of their most talented forward will be utmost on my list.
Will Mickey Owen revive the memorable goal poaching times of Ruud Van Nistelrooy? Manchester United had an unbeaten and useful preseason. Owen and Valencia are gelling well with the rest of the team. The midfield remains an area of concern for United, as currently they have arguably only the third best midfield quartet in the country.
Do United have enough depth in the goalkeeping department considering that Edwin Van Der Sar will be out for ten weeks?
Similarly, Chelsea also have to get used to the tactics and ideas of a new manager. Out went the excellent Guus Hiddink. In came the more pragmatic Carlo Ancelotti. For me, Ancelotti has a lot of the Mourinho trait and likes to set his team up defensively first and foremost.
However, Ancelotti has publicly declared that he will set the team out to play attractive football, and this match will lend proof to that claim. Needless to say, the Chelsea faithful will be out in droves this Sunday to see if Ancelotti is the man to lead Chelsea to future success.
With John Terry staying, this Chelsea team is unchanged and thus remain as strong as ever. Winning the inaugural World Football Challenge against tough competition would have helped Chelsea. They too had a great unbeaten preseason tuneup.
To many of the over-30s in the team, this season looks to be their last chance for glory—but can Chelsea be considered as favourites for this season's league title?
With all these questions to be answered, this season opener has come at an opportune moment. As said, all will be revealed come Sunday.

This article is also featured in The Flat Back Four, a site where the author shares his opinions and views on football.