The Community Shield Sunday sees two of the most successful managers in the game pit their wits for the first time as opposing managers of Premier League clubs. Carlo Ancelotti, having guided AC Milan to two European Cup triumphs, takes charge of his first competitive match as Chelsea boss and will experience his first taste of an English atmosphere. The latest managerial recruit at the merry-go-round at Chelsea will face the toughest start when his Blues come up against the current and three-time consecutive league winners Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been around forever and has all the experience of these sort of 'curtain-raiser' matches. But both managers will be aware that there will be much more important pieces of silverware to play for later in the season. However, this is a last opportunity for both squads to be tuned up and ready for the opening round of Premier League fixtures next weekend. Do not expect this to be a friendly match.
Just over a year ago, tempers bolied over as Rio Ferdinand took on half the Chelsea team in a pushy face-off as United went down 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to a debatable penalty decision. It had no bearing on the title race in the end. United are unbeaten against Chelsea since that day, with a penalty shoot-out victory in the Champions League final 2008, a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge and a 3-0 thumping at Old Trafford. Two seasons ago United beat Chelsea in the Community Shield thanks to a 3-0 penalty shoot-out win after a 1-1 draw.
With Ronaldo and Tevez departed, Sir Alex will have to get the very best out of free transfer signing Michael Owen, and Wayne Rooney, who can expect to be playing in a much-higher-up-the-pitch central position. Together with Berbatov, whose first season at Old Trafford was less than average, these three strikers will have to bag the goals more regularly than they have been doing. Whether they can fill the boots of Ronaldo will remain to be seen.
For Chelsea, it's very much the same playing faces performing under yet another new manager. Expect Drogba and Anelka to give Man. Utd's defence a few shaky moments, especially in the absence of Vidic through injury. Frank Lampard continues to be the most consistent goalscoring midfielder in the world, and John Terry is sure to put in a brave, commanding performance as usual.
This one will be close, as it usually is between these two teams. Expect it to go the distance and Ben Foster to once again shine in a shoot-out.