Date:7th August 2011 at 9:49am
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Will Tom Cleverley play today?

The first game of the season is upon us, and Manchester United meet rivals Manchester City in the community shield match at Wembley.

It’s definitely a day of excitement as the football season finally kicks off for us. We start the season on a perch of our own having last season overtook Liverpool with our 19th title to become the most decorated team in English football history and this season we shall look to make it number 20.

Manchester City

Where Manchester City are currently this season is relatively unknown. They have won 4 of their 5 pre-season games so far, including a 3-0 win in the Dublin Super Cup vs Inter Milan.

We already know that they are a pretty strong team with 3 defensive midfielders in the centre; Yaya Toure, Nigel De Jong and Gareth Barry, and I expect them to line up with all 3 in a 4-5-1 system. Carlos Tevez is expected to miss out for them as he has not reported back for training since he announced that he wants to leave the “Etihad” stadium.

New signing Kun Aguero is not expected to start as the lone striker since he only recently came back from an injury therefore it is expected that the talented loose cannon Mario Balotelli will take that role with David Silva most definitely behind him. New signing Gael Clichy may also be in line for a start.

Probable team:

Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, De Jong, Barry, Toure, Milner, Silva, Balotelli.

It seems a pretty unchanged team from last season, strengthened only by Gael Clichy. It looks like a pretty strong starting lineup, similar to the team that played vs Manchester United in the FA Cup last season.

Manchester United

Manchester United have also played 5 friendlies, however we went on to win all 5 scoring scoring a total of 20 goals and conceding only 3. One of the victories was an impressive 2-1 win over Barcelona in Washington. Although it was mainly a fitness exercise, I found that this victory was very satisfying.

With Edwin Van Der Sar and Paul Scholes retireing this summer as well as regulars O’Shea and Brown having been sold, Manchester United have bought in 3 reinforcements to the squad. David De Gea, Ashley Young and Phil Jones have all been impressive so far.

Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck who have been called back from loan deals last season have also been impressive in pre-season too.

I expect Manchester United to line up with a 4-4-1-1 system today with Berbatov playing ahead of Wayne Rooney. At this current moment I feel that our central midfield cover isn’t deep enough to play a 4-5-1 system with Darren Fletcher only just coming back from his illness.

Probably team:

De Gea, Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Cleverley, Nani, Young, Rooney, Berbatov.

It looks like a strong line-up on paper. Somehow I am expecting Tom Cleverley to start in the centre of midfield. Michael Carrick is currently out injured with an achilles injury, Darren Fletcher has only just returned to training from his stomach illness and Darron Gibson had been reduced to playing with the reserves in pre-season therefore I do not expect him to feature.

The match between Manchester United and Manchester City in the Community Shield can be seen on Sky Sports 1, kick off 14:30BST (UK time).

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