Villa Park will host this season's Community Shield and Jim Knight is expecting the Premier League winners to secure a win over Roberto Di Matteo's men on SundayThe curtain-raiser for the English domestic season sees Champions League and FA Cup winners Chelsea take on Manchester City, who conquered all in their pursuit for Premier League glory last season - just.
It is always difficult to judge a team's first meaningful game of the season on just pre-season form but these two sides have faired quite differently since they lifted their silverware in May. Both in terms of results and in the summer transfer market.
Despite the arrival of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar, the last few games have not gone to plan for the London club.
A 1-0 loss to AC Milan was followed by a 3-1 defeat to Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion, hardly ideal preparation for a Premier League title run. Chelsea are 9/5 (2.80) outsiders to win the game in normal time and 11/10 (2.10) to lift the trophy.
Roberto Mancini on the other hand, is yet to open his chequebook and add to Manchester City's squad, and it appears his side will contest this match with the same squad as he had when a last-minute Sergio Aguero strike sealed their first Premier League title three months ago.
Their pre-season results have been encouraging though, with wins over Besiktas, Arsenal and Wolfsburg putting City as favourites to win the match at 13/10 (2.30) and 4/6 (1.67) shots to win their first piece of silverware of this season by any method.
The price of 13/10 for a Manchester City win looks the preferable option given that Roberto Di Matteo may still be experimenting with how to accommodate his galaxy of attacking midfield stars.
The goals market may be the best place to look to for a winning bet to start the season, with over 2.5 goals priced at 10/11 (1.91) with William Hill.
Looking at recent Community Shield matches, both teams have scored in eight of the last nine games and the three most recent matches have all gone over 2.5 goals, with either Chelsea or Manchester City featuring in all of them.
This is a showpiece game, which often becomes a high-scoring and entertaining affair, so backing over 2.5 goals at a shade under even money looks a solid bet.
In terms of goalscorers, Sergio Aguero leads the market to score first at 5/1 (6.0), not surprising given his pre-season form.
Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli can both be backed at 11/2 (6.50). For the Blues, Fernando Torres is a 6/1 (7.0) shot while new signings Eden Hazard and Marko Marin are available at 6/1 (7.0) and 16/1 (17.0) respectively.
As with games of this nature, team selection is difficult to predict so it may be difficult to back any of those prices with certainty but William Hill's exclusive enhanced price on Sergio Aguero to score anytime in a Manchester City win at 7/2 (4.50) will attract lots of interest.
Instead though, consider backing Manchester City to win and over 2.5 goals as a value bet at 23/10 (3.30) with William Hill for smaller stakes.
|Over 2.5 Goals at 10/11 (1.91) with William Hill
||Manchester City win and over 2.5 goals 23/10 (3.30) with William Hill|
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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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