While it is largely thought of as little more than a pre-season friendly the Community Shield could carry more meaning than Manchester City fans would like.
Since 2000 the losing side in the Wembley showdown has only gone on to win the Premier League three times – City themselves in 2011, Arsenal in 2003 and Manchester United in 2000.
And, while linking the outcome of a 38-game season to a one-off friendly with marginally more gravitas than the Emirates Cup is foolhardy, the match did highlight a potential lack of preparation on City’s behalf.
This is no doubt partly down to a World Cup hangover, with the likes of Joe Hart, Sergio Agureo, Martin Demechelis and others resigned to the bench, but Manuel Pellegrini himself has now admitted his side are struggling to hit peak condition in time for the season opener next weekend.
As such, those tempted to take the 15/8 on the Sky Blues retaining their Premier League crown could approach such a bet with caution.
Given the run of fixtures – Newcastle, Liverpool, Stoke, Chelsea and Arsenal – that starts City’s defence, Pellegrini’s side can ill afford to be below their best at the start of the campaign.
The Community Shield may not be the most prestigious of trophies but this is partly down to the way it is marketed. The Supercopa in Spain for instance carries a larger air of glamour but is essentially the same thing.
Those tempted to back Arsenal for a long-awaited title win at 13/2 on the strength of their 3-0 win could be mindful that none of the last three winners of the shield have gone on the claim the Premier League crown.
In fact just five of those to lift the trophy since the turn of the century have used the win to propel them to the title.
However, while using the game as a pre-cursor to the season is tantamount to looking for Derby clues on a Tuesday night at Southwell in December, on the basis of what we saw at Wembley it is Arsenal that look the value bet at present.
All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publishing
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