The Community Shield is ordinarily little more than a curtain-raiser for the season ahead, but with this year’s meeting set to take place between Manchester rivals United and City on Sunday, there is a little more spice involved in the Wembley ‘friendly’ than usual.
The game has been made more tantalising still by the prospect of seeing a host of new faces for both sides as Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini have been among the managers leading the way in spending this summer.
These six players will be hoping to make their mark at Wembley and carry a strong debut performance into the new season.
Arguably the marquee signing of the summer, Aguero arrives in England with a reputation already well formed after several seasons in Spain with Atletico Madrid, the most recent culminating in a 23-goal return in all competitions.
The striker ended his time with Atleti with a hat-trick on the final day of the season, before scoring three goals for Argentina in a Copa America in which they flopped. That the 23-year-old came away from a difficult tournament in his homeland garnering yet more praise is further evidence of his talent.
The future of Carlos Tevez is yet to be resolved, but if Aguero can hit the ground running, City fans will scarcely notice the absence of their former hero.
|DAVID DE GEA
Another summer arrival from Atletico Madrid, the long protracted transfer of the Spanish Under-21 international goalkeeper was finally concluded in June, when United paid close to £19 million for the 20-year-old, charged with the unenviable task of replacing the retiring Edwin van der Sar.
De Gea shot to stardom after injuries to Roberto and the absence of Sergio Asenjo at the start of the 2009-10 season afforded him an opportunity in the Atleti first team, finishing off the campaign as No.1, with a Europa League winner’s medal.
The Spaniard is now set to be first choice at Old Trafford this season and will want to set the tone for his stay at the club with a clean sheet at Wembley.
Despite spending £16m on Aleksandar Kolarov just last summer, City entered back into the transfer market for a full-back, signing the experienced Clichy from Arsenal for a substantially lower figure of £7m.
There is no mystery surrounding Clichy, a player with years of Premier League football already under his belt after joining the Gunners in 2003, eventually replacing the departing Ashley Cole when the England international left for Chelsea, and largely holding the left-back slot in the first XI ever since.
Nevertheless, with competition from Kolarov, Clichy will be keen to assert himself in a City shirt and put some silverware in the trophy cabinet after a barren spell at the Emirates.
After another impressive season with Aston Villa in which he cemented his place permanently in the England fold, Ashley Young earned a move to Old Trafford this summer, joining the Premier League champions for £14m in what could prove to be one of the best bits of business over this transfer window.
Cultured with both feet and possessing a wicked delivery, the midfielder is versatile and can operate on both the left and right hand side of the pitch, as well as behind a striker.
Young will most likely need to displace Nani or Antonio Valencia in order to obtain a regular spot in the United starting XI, and a strong performance at Wembley will certainly help him make his case.
|Three memorable Shield debuts
|Ruud van Nistelrooy struck the first of many in his Manchester United career in a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in 2001.
Andriy Shevchenko netted in 2006 as Chelsea also lost 2-1 to Liverpool, but would fail to make an impact at Stamford Bridge.
Javier Hernandez opened his scoring account for Manchester United with a bizarre goal in last year's 3-1 victory over Chelsea, before going on to hit the back of the net 20 times.
A relative unknown in England, Savic made the £6m move to the Etihad Stadium this summer after just one season with Partizan Belgrade, in which he featured regularly in the Champions League, though the Serbian side failed to advance beyond the group stages, losing twice to Arsenal in the process.
Savic has enjoyed better fortunes in international competition however, as Montenegro sit level on points with England in Group G for Euro 2012 qualification, with the 20-year-old catching the eye in a goalless draw at Wembley in October last year.
Competition for places at the heart of the defence will be strong for Savic, but with Kolo Toure still suspended, the Montenegrin could be called into action on Sunday.
After just one season of regular first team football with Blackburn Rovers, Sir Alex Ferguson was so impressed with Jones that he parted ways with £16.5m for the 19-year-old in June, beating off competition from rivals Liverpool.
The Old Trafford backroom staff will have been pleased with Jones’ performances at centre-back with the England Under-21s alongside Chris Smalling at the European Championships this summer, with the pair looking a commanding prospect for future years.
Jones is likely to largely play understudy to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic this season, but his versatility means he could also be trusted to play in midfield alongside the likes of Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs or Anderson.