English Premier League Predictions: The FA Community Shield Manchester Derby

Thomas Atzenhoffer@socceratzCorrespondent IIAugust 5, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on August 8, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

It is truly almost that time. This weekend sees the Barclays Premier League fans get a glimpse at two of the most talked about teams for next season. With Manchester United out to defend their record 19th English Championship, their cross-town rivals Manchester City hope to knock the mighty Red Devils off their perch.

Last season saw all the money that has been pumped into City finally pay off as they defeated Stoke City at Wembley to claim the 2011 FA Cup. It was their first piece of Silverware in 35 years, since they last lifted the League Cup in 1976 over Newcastle United.

The season also saw the Citizens break into the UEFA Champions League by securing a third-place finish in the table. It is the closest they have come to a top flight Championship since they last finished second in 1976-77.

Manchester United are fresh off a record-breaking League season, while suffering another European failure thanks to Barcelona. Sir Alex Ferguson led the Red Devils to their 13th League title under his tenure, and it is their third in the last five seasons.

No longer do they share the top spot with Liverpool for the most English Domestic League titles, and it has them ready to continue broadening the gap.

However, they will have to face off against a tough and determined Manchester City squad that has much left to prove. City was last involved in a Community Shield competition in 1973 when they lost to Burnley at Main Road.

United have had much more recent success in the early season fixture as they have won four in the last ten years. Their most recent was last year's 2010 edition when they took down 2009-10 League-winners Chelsea in a 3-1 victory in front of a packed Wembley Stadium.

This year the game will be an excellent competition as City will want to start their season off with a win by showing they are genuine title contenders, and this will probably be the make-or-break season for Roberto Mancini at the helm of the money-rich club.

His most recent addition, Sergio Aguero, will probably not be on display at the start, but his selection process will be difficult nonetheless as he now has a plethora of front men to choose from, even more than before.

Sir Alex Ferguson will approach the match as he always does, with the intent of winning outright, and he has some new faces that will be seeing their first action with the Red Devils while there is a piece of silverware on the line.

This combination will be missed. Two of the Greatest Ever. Happy Trails Scholesy, Giggs keep soldiering on.
This combination will be missed. Two of the Greatest Ever. Happy Trails Scholesy, Giggs keep soldiering on.Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

I truly believe Mario Balotelli will be one to watch for City if the mouthy striker plays. Carlos Tevez could also be a thorn in the side if he makes a cameo, as he is always out to stick it to his former employers. Wayne Rooney has a lot to prove after being highly criticized last season for his believed dip in form, although his bicycle goal against City in the last match where these two faced off is one to remember.

Predicted Line-Ups

Manchester City Starting XI: Joe Hart; Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany, Stefan Savic, Gael Clichy; Nigel De Jong, Gareth Barry; David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner; Mario Balotelli.

Manchester United Starting XI: David De Gea; Fabio Da Silva, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra; Ashley Young, Tom Cleverly, Anderson, Park Ji-Sung; Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen.

Match Prediction: Manchester United 3 - 1 Manchester City.


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