The thirty point gap between last season’s English Premier League champions and FA Cup winners was apparent Sunday afternoon as Manchester City laid down a marker for their title defense with a clinical 2-0 victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Such was the gulf in class, the score line flattered Chelsea. Had two-goal hero Sergio Aguero not left one of his shooting boots home, new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri could have been embarrassed on his competitive debut. Only Aguero’s profligacy and Willy Caballero’s brilliant shot stopping prevented a cricket score.
Pep Guardiola’s trailblazers set a plethora of records in winning the 2017/18 title, registering the most wins, most goals scored and the highest points tally in Premiership history and on the evidence of their Wembley display, they will take some beating.
Aguero had already tested Chelsea’s back four, playing in an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation when he found space and time to evade Antonio Rudiger’s timid challenge and shoot past Argentina team mate Caballero. Time check was 13 minutes.
Fielding a side without talismanic pair Eden Hazard and Ngolo Kante, Chelsea struggled to assert themselves. The Londoners’ best chance came midway through the first half when fast and rising teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi, shot straight at Claudio Bravo after wriggling free from City right back Kyle Walker’s close attention.
Any hope Chelsea would erase a 0-1 first half deficit were wiped out on 58 minutes when Aguero latched onto a well weighted through ball past Chelsea’s struggling central defensive pair to fire home a rasper.
The goal set the tone for the rest of the half, with the game mostly one way traffic onto Chelsea’s goal.
Sarri meets Belgian pair Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, as well as World Cup winners Kante and Olivier Giroud at Stamford Bridge on Monday hoping to iron out their futures ahead of next weekend’s trip to Huddersfield Town.
Premier League champions City begin their title defense by squaring off with Arsenal.