5th August, 2018
The die is cast for this afternoon (for those of you in Africa and Europe) at 3 p.m. as FA Cup winners Chelsea face Premier League Champions Manchester City in the Community Shield Cup match-up. The venue as usual is the Wembley Stadium.
Ahead of this important match, good news seem to be filtering in for the Manchester side as two players who were injured have made recoveries faster than expected and there are hints they may even feature at some stage of this curtain-raiser to the new Premier League season.
The two players in question are Riyad Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy.
Mahrez picked up an ankle injury in his new team’s pre-season win over Bayern Munich. He was expected to miss the early stages of the new season but the £60m summer signing from Leicester City has made such stunning recovery that he has even been cleared fit for today’s game if reports reaching us from Man City are anything to go by.
A few days back Man City issued a statement that read:
“A scan today has revealed no significant damage, and he could be available for selection for this weekend’s Community Shield against Chelsea.”
As for Benjamin Mendy, he had been injured since September last year and has been recuperating since then. He was fit enough to play in a U23 game against Manchester United earlier this week and so is expected to be in the City line-up today depending on the Manager’s decision. The player is quite happy to be back and fit as he had this to say:
“It’s a good feeling to touch the ball in a real game. Against United is a good game for my first game back after my injury.
“We are football players so we know we can have a lot of injuries. I’ve had one before (a long injury), but now it’s OK.
“I was out for a long time, so it was difficult, but with my family and friends, with a team like this, everything was OK.
“For my first game, my body felt good and my knee. I played and I enjoyed it.”
Chelsea are not completely left out of the good news corner.
For starters, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has returned to full Chelsea training after taking a well deserved rest at the end of his participation at the just concluded 2018 FIFA World Cup Competition in Russia. He is likely to feature in today’s game at Wembley.
Then there is the case of Chelsea’s new signing, Jorginho who could be making his debut for the Blues in this game. It will be recalled that this player actually turned down the chance to join Man City as he preferred linking up with his former Manager at Napoli, Sarri who had moved to Chelsea.
Of course, there is the issue of the players who may be leaving the team still – the trio of Hazard, Courtois and Willian. The Manager was asked about the current state of affairs concerning them and this is what he had to say:
“I don’t know. It depends on the club. For me, it is a pleasure to have Courtois, to have Willian, to have Hazard, but it doesn’t depend on me. We have to wait.
“I have confidence. Face to face? At the end of the month. Because they will arrive at Cobham at the end of the month.”
When asked about his team’s possible line-up for today’s game, the Mangaer said:
“Cesc doesn’t have a serious injury. I don’t know if he will be able to play on Sunday but it’s nothing serious. Maybe the starting 11 will be very near to the last match. But maybe something different can happen, I don’t know. Tomorrow morning I will decide.”