Manchester City carried on where they left off last season to beat Chelsea and win Community Shield for the fifth time on Sunday.
The so-called season ‘curtain raiser’ didn’t exactly bring the house down but Sergio Agüero scored his 200th and 201st goals for Manchester City to send fans home with a smile.
Jorginho and Riyad Mahrez made their competitive debuts for City and Chelsea respectively.
Both clubs handed competitive debuts to their big-money summer signings as Jorginho anchored the Chelsea midfielder and Riyad Mahrez lined up on the right flank for Manchester City.
It was Manchester City who enjoyed the brighter start in the Wembley sunshine, threatening through Mahrez and Leroy Sané within the first four minutes. Neither could test Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero but their early efforts set the tone as City looked to assert themselves.
Chelsea sides of yesteryear would have happily conceded possession and tried to pack their own third but Maurizio Sarri’s side have been encouraged to keep the ball and press high up the field. The makings of a good team are there but they aren’t at City’s level yet and Pep Guardiola’s team took a deserved lead with 13 minutes on the clock.
After patiently building up in their own half, City sprung an attack through the middle of the park. The impressive Bernardo Silva linked up with Phil Foden, who found Sergio Agüero on the edge of the box. City’s all-time top goalscorer made no mistake, striking low and hard across goal with his left foot to net his 200th goal in City colours.
The goal only encouraged the Premier League champions, with Mahrez looking like he slotted right in with Guardiola’s way of playing.
In search of an equaliser, Chelsea didn’t rush on the ball but looked to drive forward as their front three consistently dropped deep to become involved in the play. Álvaro Morata struggled to have an impact and Callum Hudson-Odoi was well defended by Kyle Walker but it was Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo who looked most likely to threaten his side’s lead.
The Chilean spilt one effort from Hudson-Odoi before almost embarrassing himself by misjudging a long pass. Completely caught under a bouncing ball, Bravo was lucky Morata wasn’t just a few yards closer to him.
Chasing the game after the break, Chelsea’s lax play in midfield and high defensive line could have allowed Agüero to claim a hat-trick before 50 minutes had been played. First the Argentine was played through after Jorginho was robbed in midfield, on that occasion Agüero dragged his shot wide.
An even bigger chance presented itself moments later when Foden put Agüero in behind the defence. City’s record scorer rounded Caballero but could only find the side-netting.
Sarri’s side didn’t heed the warning signs that the game was escaping them and it was Agüero who escaped their attentions again to double the lead.
The second goal of the game not only gave City a cushion but it encouraged both managers to make a flurry of changes. Willian, linked with a move away this summer, entered the fray for Chelsea after presumably solving his ‘expired passport’ issue. His Brazil team-mate came on for City, replacing debutant Riyad Mahrez.
Despite the new faces, Agüero remained the most dangrous man on the pitch. The striker was found at the back post after a short corner routine only to have his volley saved by Caballero.
The final 15 minutes were more subdued as both teams made changes but there was enough time left for Claudio Bravo to get hearts racing one more time. The City goalkeeper almost embarrassed himself once again with two minutes remaining, failing to deal with a low cross before the ball was eventually scrambled away for a corner.
Stoppage time provided City with two more chances to make their dominance count but Caballero stood tall to deny Brahim Diaz before Antonio Rüdiger blocked Bernardo Silva’s goal-bound effort.
An impressive performance from City in what is often called a glorified friendly brought the season’s first trophy and further underlined their credentials as favourites to retain their Premier League title. Chelsea, on the other hand, will need some time to adapt to their new manager’s style.