The new English football season kicks off with the traditional curtain raiser Sunday, a Battle of Manchester which pits last season’s FA Cup winners City head-to-head with Barclays Premier League champs United for the Community Shield (live, FOX Soccer, 9 a.m. ET). It’s a usually a ceremonial matchup, but this time the Community Shield pits two of the best teams - and increasingly bitter rivals —-in what is nominally a “friendly” game.
This figures to be a slugfest instead of an August walk in the park as both teams look to send a critical message - that they will be the club that breaks free of the pack. Make no mistake, the Barclays Premier League has become that kind of dogfight.