Sergio Aguero scored both Manchester City goals as the Premier League champions beat Chelsea to win the Community Shield on a sweltering day at Wembley.
Aguero’s first – his 200th goal for the club – came after 13 minutes, when he collected the ball on the edge of the area after Phil Foden surged forward, and fired into the bottom corner.
His second came after the break, when he latched on to Bernardo Silva’s pass and beat Willy Caballero with another precise low finish.
Chelsea, less than a month into Maurizio Sarri’s reign as manager, lacked a presence in attack and managed only one shot on target, a long-range strike by 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi which Claudio Bravo fumbled to safety.
Some of their lethargy going forward could be put down to the heat, which made it difficult for both sides to sustain any sort of tempo.
Players were allowed water breaks during the game and some City players sitting on the bench had wet towels over their heads to try to protect them from the intensity of the sunshine.
Sarri was without his best forward player, with Eden Hazard due back for post-World Cup pre-season training on Monday amid speculation Real Madrid want to sign him.
City, who won last year’s title by 19 points, were also without some of their stars – with Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva all absent.
But they produced a controlled and efficient performance to secure their third piece of silverware in the past six months. The worry for the rest of the Premier League is they have the appetite for more.
Foden and Bernardo Silva star for City
City boss Pep Guardiola was able to hand a start to new £60m forward Riyad Mahrez but, in the absence of De Bruyne and David Silva, it was Foden and Bernardo Silva who caught the eye.
Operating on either side of Fernandinho, as steady as ever at the base of City’s midfield, they looked to spring forward at every opportunity.
Foden did exactly that to set up Aguero’s opener, latching on to a pass from Aymeric Laporte and taking full advantage as the Chelsea defence backed off.
It was a similar story when Silva provided the assist from which Aguero extended City’s lead in another lightning break in which the ball travelled from the edge of City’s box into the Chelsea net in a matter of seconds.
Both players were utilised further forward last season, but showed they could have a part to play in a deeper role in the coming campaign.
Aguero – given the nod over Gabriel Jesus, who stayed on the bench – was as deadly as ever up front and had City converted one of a flurry of late chances, the scoreline would have been even more resounding.
Chelsea short of a scoring threat
It is 78 days since Chelsea lifted the FA Cup here in Antonio Conte’s last act as manager. Sarri has since arrived from Napoli as the Blues’ eighth permanent boss in the past 10 years.
Sarri’s prime concern is probably keeping his stars – as well as doubts over Hazard’s future, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is also wanted by Real, and Willian has been linked with Barcelona.
“The performance was not bad in the first half but in the second half there was a big difference from a physical point of view, so we have to work,” said Sarri following the defeat.
“I am worried about the defensive phase – not the defenders. We have to improve, especially on the other half. I spoke with Willian, Courtois and Hazard only by phone. Tomorrow morning or afternoon I will speak to them again but, in this moment, I am confident.”
But this display was evidence of where he needs to strengthen his team too, with a new striker surely top of his list.
Alvaro Morata was again underwhelming in front of goal and failed to offer his side any sort of focal point going forward.
The Spanish striker only managed one touch in the City box in the 70 minutes he was on the pitch, a moment which also provided him with his only shot at goal – a wild first-half effort which flew well wide.
Hudson-Odoi provided Chelsea’s best moments in attack, with his pace giving the City defence something to worry about.
Ross Barkley also impressed early on with some neat touches, when he was seeing plenty of the ball in a deeper role, but his influence faded after the break.
In the longer term, Chelsea will surely improve as they adjust to Sarri’s trademark 4-3-3 formation, but on this occasion they went backwards the longer the game went on.
It was a reminder of how much work Sarri has to do – but the good news is he will not have to play City every week.
Man of the match – Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
City dominate in the sunshine – the stats
- City have won the Community Shield for the first time since 2012, when they beat Chelsea 3-2 at Villa Park.
- Chelsea have now failed to win the Community Shield in any of their past five appearances (2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018). It’s the joint-longest run of appearances without winning or sharing the trophy in the competition’s history, along with Newcastle (1932, 1951, 1952, 1955 and 1996).
- This is the first time the Premier League champions have won the Community Shield since Manchester United beat Wigan 2-0 in 2013.
- The last Community Shield winners to go on to win the title that season were Manchester United in 2010-11.
- Aguero’s opener was his 200th goal for City in all competitions – the first player to reach that milestone for the club. He has now scored five goals at Wembley for City – more than any other player.
- Ten of Aguero’s 201 goals in all competitions for City have come against Chelsea – only against Newcastle (14) has he scored more.
- Foden provided his second assist in all competitions for City – both have been for Aguero goals.
Sarri’s first competitive game in charge of Chelsea is at Huddersfield on Saturday (15:00 BST). Before then, they play a friendly against French side Lyon at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday (20:05 BST).
City begin the defence of their Premier League crown with a trip to Arsenal next Sunday (16:00 BST).