Cyprus Mail
Football Sport

Pellegrini: It’s not a friendly match

Manuel Pellegrini's champions take on Arsene Wenger's FA Cup winners in the Community Shield at Wembley

PREMIER League champions Manchester City will be without eight players for Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Arsenal at Wembley (5pm), the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season.

Speaking at a news conference, manager Manuel Pellegrini said captain Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Frank Lampard and Bacary Sagna had only returned to training this week after being given extended time off after the World Cup.
Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo had already been ruled out with a broken foot.

“Frank Lampard is not ready to play,” Chilean Pellegrini said.
“All the players that arrive this Monday, Demichelis, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Sagna, Fernandinho, Lampard and Aguero, they have a special pre-season this week and next week.
“Negredo has at least two or three months that he won’t play. He is coming to Carrington again and he is working on different things.”

Pellegrini said beating last season’s FA Cup winners Arsenal was important for setting the right tone for the defence of their league title.

City suffered surprise defeats to Cardiff City and Aston Villa early on last season, and while they eventually fought their way to the Premier League summit, Pellegrini was keen to avoid a similarly slow start.

“It’s not a friendly match,” he added. “It is an important game against an important team in Arsenal.
“Maybe both teams, Arsenal and our team, do not arrive in our best moment because both have a lot of players who have just arrived from the World Cup but I think it will be a very good game and important for both teams to win it.
“We have to start from zero, we won the title last year but now plenty of teams have the same option.”

As for Arsenal, summer signing Alexis Sanchez is set to make his competitive debut.
Sanchez could be one of three debutants for the Gunners at Wembley, with Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers also available. New goalkeeper David Ospina is a doubt with a thigh problem.

Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski are not available. The trio do not return to training until Monday after being given extra rest following their World Cup triumph with Germany last month.

Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes Arsenal are still benefiting from the feel-good factor of winning the FA Cup and thinks the triumph could spur the team on to more success this season.

The Gunners ended a nine-year wait for silverware when they beat Hull at Wembley in May – a victory that eased the disappointment of another underwhelming league finish.

Arsenal spent more than 100 days at the top of the Barclays Premier League last season but had to settle for fourth, seven points behind City.

“When there’s a lot of talk about a team that should or could be winning things and it’s not happening it can become a little bit frustrating,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

“There’s been a little bit of negative media about Arsenal in recent years but we always believed we would win a trophy soon and the squad we’re putting together could do it.
“The fact it did happen, I don’t know if it was a relief, it was a really nice reward for the togetherness we’ve had to show for a while now.

“It does start a winning momentum and once you know you can win, it gives you confidence – you can go into competitions thinking you can win and expecting to go far.”

Related Posts

Hamilton wins crazy Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Press Association

Man United and Spurs continue revivals with wins

Reuters News Service

Manchester City go top as Chelsea suffer defeat at West Ham

Press Association

Russian team reach Davis Cup final with 2-0 win over Germany

Reuters News Service

World’s oldest test player Ash dies at 110

Reuters News Service

Brundle: Hamilton not ready to hand over baton to Verstappen

Press Association