Leicester City (+359) vs Manchester United (-114), Draw (+263)
The first silverware of the 2016-17 season will be at stake this Sunday (11:00 AM Eastern), when the English Premier League champions, Leicester City, clash with the FA Cup winners, Manchester United, at London’s Wembley Stadium for the English FA Community Shield.
Despite the game occurring in the middle of the preseason, it doesn’t mean either squad will be taking the match lightly; especially considering Leicester City has not won it since 1971, and are hungry to snap that drought.
Leicester City’s improbable run last season will go down as one of the (if not the) most improbable achievements in the English Premier League history; but, 2016-17 is a new year, and reality will undoubtedly set in.
The Foxes, managed by Claudio Ranieri, are a defensive-minded squad that effectively utilized the counterattack last season. To the surprise of many, Leicester City executed the game-plan to perfection, and no opposing manager could figure out a way to stop them. However, their competition in the EPL won’t allow that to happen again, and Leicester City will re-assume their spot in the middle of the pack.
Manchester United, on the other hand, had a horrible season, finishing fifth and missing the UEFA Champions League. The Red Devils fired their coach, Louis Van Gaal, in order to bring a proven winner, Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager has a lot of work ahead of him, as Manchester United have a plethora of tactical issues that need to be corrected.
Along with Mourinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic also joined the squad. The Swedish striker will provide immediate offense, as well as winning experience. Ibrahimovic has won league championships in Italy, Spain, and France and now seeks to add an EPL title to his already impressive collection. With the power of Rooney and Ibrahimovic, Manchester United should boast one of the best attacks in Europe.
Manchester United hasn’t shown very well in friendly matches, but with a cup on the line, Mourinho will have his team prepared.
Pick: Manchester United (-114).
(Photo Credit: By Pioeb (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)