With the Premier League season now agonisingly close, this weekend provides the annual curtain raiser for the new campaign in the shape of the FA Community Shield.
The game takes place at Villa Park, which hosts the match for the first time since 1972 because of Wembley Stadium’s commitment to the Olympics.
And, in honour of the big match, GMF remembers five of the best FA Community Shield matches in recent times. Let us know if your favourite made the cut at the bottom of the article…
Manchester United 3-2 Manchester City – 2011
We should have known that last season’s Premier League title race was going to be a classic, after this thriller at Wembley went the way of Manchester United in injury-time.
First-half goals from Joleon Lescott and Eden Dzeko put the Citizens in command, with question marks over Red Devils stopper David De Gea for the second strike in particular.
However, Chris Smalling and Luis Nani got United back in the match with two goals in six minutes, and the Portuguese winger capitalised on a late defensive mistake to send the shield back to Old Trafford.
Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United (Chelsea win 4-1 on pens) – 2009
Wayne Rooney’s injury-time strike wasn’t enough for United on this occasion, with Welsh winger Ryan Giggs and full-back Patrice Evra missing from the spot for the Premier League champions of 2008/09.
Nani had put United in-front, only for goals from Ricardo Carvalho and Frank Lampard to put the Blues in-front.
Whilst they conceded late, Lampard, Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou kept their nerve from the spot for a shootout victory.
Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea – 2006
Having beaten Arsenal in the Millennium Stadium just a couple of months earlier, Liverpool replicated their 2-1 success against another London rival.
Jon Arne-Riise fired the Reds ahead on nine minutes, before big-money Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko hit back for the Blues.
Peter Crouch hit the winner with 80 minutes on the clock, as Jose Mourinho tasted defeat against Rafa Benitez’s Reds.
Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United – 2004
At the time, these two clubs were the giants of English football, and were contesting the Community Shield for a second consecutive season.
Unlike the year before, it was the Gunners who won the day on this occasion, with Alan Smith’s consolation sandwiched in-between goals from Gilberto Silva and Jose Antonio Reyes.
An own goal from Mikael Silvestre made it 3-1 for to Arsene Wenger’s side, but they weren’t to know that the barren years were just 12 months away from beginning.
Leeds United 4-3 Liverpool – 1992
Whilst the name Eric Cantona is synonymous with Manchester United, his spell at Leeds was pretty eventful too – a point proved by his Wembley hat-trick against Liverpool.
Tony Dorigo was also on the scoresheet for the Whites, who’d won the old First Division in the final year before the Premier League.
Ian Rush, Dean Saunders and a Gordan Strachan own goal meant the Reds went back to Anfield with their heads held high, but the shield went back to Elland Road with Howard Wilkinson.
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