It has been 85 days since the glorious Munich night. Chelsea and Manchester City both lifted silverware in their last competitive matches, the Champions League and the Premier League respectively. But after an agonising summer of Euro 2012 disappointment and an Olympic football tournament to forget, football is back.
Pre-match, Roberto Di Matteo summed up the expectations of this curtain raiser: “When you win the Community Shield, people say it’s not an important game, but when you lose, oh all of a sudden it’s an important game.”
The idea of the Community Shield is, as the name suggests, to benefit community-based initiatives and charities around the country.
But when Manchester City and Chelsea meet, you can guarantee it will not be as friendly as the purpose is, for the last five meetings between these two sides have seen four penalties and three red cards.
Chelsea, after another ambitious summer, could only start with one new face in Eden Hazard, allowing for injury to Marko Marin and international commitments to Oscar; Manchester City had a similar side to last year’s, with Tevez and Aguero up front.
One of the heroes of the win in Germany was called upon early as Manchester City looked to get off to a fast start, with Cech denying Tevez and a Kompany header.
Hazard fell over his own feet trying to impress with a back-heel, much to the amusement of the City faithful, but whilst he was attempting the skill and creativity, Manchester City were much more prepared to go for dogged brutality, with De Jong and Yaya Toure both getting involved in strong challenges.
The season promises so much to Fernando Torres, and he gave Chelsea fans a glimpse of what could come, opening the scoring with five minutes to go in the first half.
Ramires, who was deployed as a right-winger, cut inside, and a deft Hazard flick found Torres, who lifted the ball over the oncoming Pantillimon, to give Chelsea the advantage.
But the jubilation quickly subsided, when Kevin Friend gave Branislav Ivanovic his first straight red-card in a Chelsea shirt, after a challenge on compatriot Kolarov.
Chelsea have scored in all 10 of their appearances in this competition, but having kept just two clean sheets in them was a sign of things to come.
And on the 52nd minute, City equalised, with Yaya Toure driving home to Cech’s near post, a goal which could have been stopped in defence or goal.
The pressure was coming, and with Ramires playing a deeper right-back role, the attack weakened and the defence was makeshift, which Manchester City exploited moments later.
Tevez cut in and after fooling Terry, rifled the ball into the top corner, past a hapless Petr Cech, to score his seventh goal in eight domestic games against Chelsea.
Chelsea had to regroup after a disastrous six minutes, but it got worse just after the hour mark, with Nasri poked home unmarked. Chelsea had conceded three goals in 12 minutes.
Sturridge and Bertrand came on for Mata and Hazard but failed to inject any more conviction in Chelsea’s play, and even though the latter of the new men coming on pulled one back ten minutes from time, it was City’s plate.
Eight of the last 11 Community Shield matches have been won by the side who finished top of the league the previous season, and City made sure things did not change.