The Citizens enter the showdown on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid in their most recent friendly, while their North London counterparts retained the Emirates Cup by beating Monaco.
As Pep Guardiola’s treble winners revelled in their unrestrained celebrations earlier in the summer, Arsenal were able to quietly cheer the consolation prize of a place in the Community Shield courtesy of their second-placed finish in the 2022-23 Premier League campaign.
While a late capitulation saw Arsenal set a new record of 248 days at the summit without etching their name onto the trophy, the Gunners’ league campaign exceeded all expectations placed before them at the start of the campaign, and Mikel Arteta’s side could still be rewarded for their efforts with a slice of silverware on Sunday.
Arsenal have already added one more honour to their cabinet this summer, defending the friendly Emirates Cup crown on Wednesday courtesy of a penalty-shootout win over Ligue 1 powerhouses Monaco, who held the Gunners to a 1-1 draw before Aaron Ramsdale kept out Takumi Minamino’s 12-yard attempt.
Also putting five goals past Barcelona and the MLS All-Stars either side of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United – which could mainly be attributed to individual errors – Arsenal now seek a 17th Community Shield title, which would take them past Liverpool into outright second place behind Man United’s 21.
In recent years, Arsenal have developed a penchant for England’s version of the Super Cup, winning each of their last four Community Shield matches – most recently seeing off Liverpool on penalties in 2020 – and only two of their last 10 such games have ended in defeat.
Arsenal’s love affair with the Community Shield is therefore well-documented, but Arteta will be under no illusions that his charges will possess the underdog tag against Man City, even if the Sky Blues’ preparations for the new term leave something to be desired.
On the back of their terrific trio of trophies in a historic 2022-23 season, Man City embarked on a tour of Japan and South Korea, opening with an eight-goal win over Yokohama F. Marinos despite being breached three times on the day.
Guardiola’s reunion with old employers Bayern Munich was also a joyous affair for the Catalonian, who masterminded a 2-1 win in Tokyo, but just four days later, his side came unstuck against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in South Korea at the end of July.
Memphis Depay and Yannick Carrasco did the damage before Ruben Dias’s 85th-minute consolation, but Man City have had ample time to reflect on that beating as they go in search of a seventh Community Shield title, but they have lost the last two editions of the Super Cup clash to Leicester City and Liverpool respectively.
Arsenal’s 2015 Community Shield success saw Arsene Wenger’s side thump the Manuel Pellegrini-led Man City 3-0, but Gooners will need no reminding of how their beloved team has fared in more recent clashes with the European champions, who have beaten Arteta’s men eight times in a row since the 2019-20 FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
Arsenal friendly form:
Manchester City friendly form:
We say: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City
While Arteta put out an experimental lineup for the Emirates Cup, Arsenal were second best for large portions of the first half against Monaco, and defensive deficiencies have plagued the Gunners all season long.
Man City have struggled to keep the back door shut themselves and should not blow Arteta’s men away as they have done in the past – especially with concerns over De Bruyne’s fitness providing an unwelcome distraction – but the treble winners ought to upset the Community Shield apple cart to add title number seven to their trophy case.