After a summer occupied by the European Championship and plenty of transfer talk, the English domestic season is finally set to restart this weekend with the FA Community Shield at Wembley.
Premier League champions Manchester City will take on Leicester City, last season’s FA Cup winners, in the curtain raiser on Saturday, with new signings potentially set to debut.
City have only just announced the acquisition of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for an English-record fee, while the Foxes have strengthened with the likes of Patson Daka and Ryan Bertrand joining the club.
Leicester have some selection issues at the back with Wesley Fofana ruled out long term after a horrific leg break in the Foxes’ last pre-season friendly against Villarreal.
That is added to Jonny Evans’ ongoing injury, with Brendan Rodgers confirming he is out until September, as well as James Justin who is still recovering from ACL surgery last season.
Timothy Castagne has also missed pre-season after suffering a facial injury playing for Belgium at the Euros, meaning the defensive stocks are rather depleted for Leicester.
Ricardo Pereira will likely start at right-back with new boy Bertrand on the left, while Caglar Soyuncu could be accompanied by Filip Benkovic at centre-back in what would be the Croatian’s first ever competitive appearance for the club.
Leicester’s first-choice midfield trio are all available, with Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison set to continue their connection in the middle of the pitch.
Kelechi Iheanacho ended last season in world-beating form up front, and with Daka’s arrival alongside, competition is rife for Jamie Vardy to keep hold of the no.9 position.
The Englishman should start on Saturday and is likely to be flanked by Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez, but the latter will have to keep performing throughout the season if he is to continue getting in the team.
City are well rested and motivated after returning to the top of the Premier League table, but they will be missing a number of international players that have not returned from summer duties.
The club’s English and Brazilian contingent have not reported back to training while Ferran Torres and Rodri have joined the team but not yet played any pre-season minutes.
That means Zack Steffen will line up in goal, with Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake and Oleksandr Zinchenko likely to form the back four.
Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho have got pre-season minutes under their belt and will be in shape to play, with young midfielder Tommy Doyle in line for a start.
Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez should both be in a position to start the match and there could be a competitive debut for 18-year-old Samuel Edozie after an impressive pre-season.
It will be a mix of experience and youth across the 90 minutes for both sides, with the bulk of preparation focused on next week’s Premier League opener.
Manchester City vs Leicester City: Predicted XIs