Chelsea vs. Manchester City Pick

Chelsea vs. Manchester City – FA Community Shield, Villa Park, Birmingham England 8:30 AM EST Sunday August 12, 2012

By Jason Green, Soccer Handicapper,

Match Odds: Chelsea 3.25 / Manchester City 2.20 / Draw 3.30
Moneyline: Chelsea +225 / Manchester City +120 / Draw +230
Over/Under: 2.5 goals

The FA Community Shield match, pretty much, kicks off the season, as in the following week the England Premier League begins. This match is the EPL season winner facing the FA Cup holders and each had a solid last season. Man City won their first EPL title in 44 years scoring 2 goals in injury time in their last match while Chelsea won the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Both of these clubs want to get off to a good season, as there a lot of expectations for both. However, while Man City has kept, pretty much, the same squad Chelsea went through an overhaul in the off-season. Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa are all gone and the Blues brought in Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and Oscar.

The Blues have struggled with their new lineup, as they have lost their last 3 friendly matches. Their offense has not looked in sync and in their last 2 matches they have only mustered 1 goal.

While Chelsea has not played well in the off-season Man City has won 4 straight friendly matches and their offense has looked great scoring 10 goals in that span. Their defense has been stellar, as they have not given up a goal in their last 5 matches. Man City has also not played cupcakes in their friendly, as 2 of their matches came facing Arsenal and Wolfsburg of the Bundesliga.

Manchester City locked up captain Vincent Kompany signing him to a 6-year contract and he has stated in the off-season that Man City must get ready for this season and not dwell on last season’s title. He recently said about the title and this season, “But in the same way I have enjoyed it, I am looking forward already. But this is over now. It is about what lies ahead.”

For Chelsea to win this match they need to shore up their back line defense and concentrate on Sergio Agero, Edin Dzeko, and Mario Balotelli, who combined for 50 goals last season in the EPL.

Edin Dzeko has hinted at a move to AC Milan, but Man City manager Roberto Mancini stated that a move is “pretty unlikely.”

Didier Drogba was a mainstay in a Blues’ uniform and he will be missed. FW Fernando Torres looked solid at the end of last season and played pretty well in Spain’s Euro Championship title run and he will be counted on in this match, as well as for the entire season, to be an offensive spark for Chelsea.

Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge combined for 22 goals last season for Chelsea and they are the guys the Man City D has to key on. However, I do not see either of them scoring facing a solid City defense anchored by G Joe Hart.

Chelsea G Petr Cech was sensational in goal in the Champions League, especially in the shocking semifinals win over Barcelona, and he will have to play like that in this match. While I think he will play well he will not keep a clean sheet facing the great Man City offense.

Chelsea Recent Form

7/19/2012 Seattle Sounders 2 Chelsea 4 (Friendly)
7/23/2012 Paris Saint-Germain 1 Chelsea 1 (Friendly)
7/25/2012 MLS All-Stars 3 Chelsea 2 (Friendly)
7/28/2012 AC Milan 1 Chelsea 0 (Friendly)
8/4/2012 Brighton 3 Chelsea 1 (Friendly)

Manchester City Recent Form

7/15/2012 Man City 0 Dynamo Dresden 0 (Friendly)
7/20/2012 Man City 2 Besiktas 0 (Friendly)
7/27/2012 Man City 2 Arsenal 0 (Friendly)
8/4/2012 Wolfsburg 0 Man City 2 (Friendly)
8/5/ 2012 Limerick 0 Man City 4 (Friendly)

Jason’s Pick to Win: I think since this game is at the beginning of the season the first half will have both teams playing cautious, but in the 2nd half I think Man City will come on strong and win by a score of 2-0 or 2-1.