Sergio Agüero’s excellent brace earned Manchester City the first silverware of the season, as they defeated Chelsea 2-0 to claim the FA Community Shield at Wembley.
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea were overwhelmed by Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Premier League champions, with the Blues managing just two shots on target compared to City’s nine.
Guardiola was still missing his two midfield maestros Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, as well as Raheem Sterling, but it didn’t stop City dominating Sarri’s team from the first whistle until the last.
The rest of the Premier League have been put on notice. Manchester City, on the evidence on display at Wembley, are the team to beat. Anybody who wants to win the league will need to finish ahead of them.
One could also conclude that the difference on the day came down to the two strikers. Álvaro Morata, after missing a penalty in Chelsea’s recent friendly against Arsenal, had another disappointing afternoon, curling his chance harmlessly over.
Sarri had commented in preseason that he is “still waiting for the best of Morata.” The Spaniard had shown glimpses of form in Turin, which Sarri would have been privy to, but his 15 league goals in 63 Serie A appearances will not be enough to take Chelsea into the top four.
He will need to be better, or be replaced, if Chelsea are to challenge for one of the top four places in the Premier League.
Agüero, in contrast, was the ruthless difference maker: first scoring a pinpoint finish with his left-foot, before slotting his second home with his right to notch his 200th and 201st goal with City.
The Argentine forward will be one of the leading contenders for the Golden Boot this season, if he can stay fit. Morata must vastly improve if he is to become Chelsea’s main man.
Sarri is in a race against time to get the Blues playing his style of football. Guardiola looks to be starting the Premier League race a lap ahead of his rivals, even if they all start on the same amount of points.