Football fans don’t always pay too much attention to the Community Shield but this year’s edition had an interesting subplot.
English football’s traditional curtain-raiser pitted two of the smartest minds in the game against each other.
Maurizio Sarri was taking charge of his first competitive match for Chelsea after his arrival from Napoli.
Sarri was unable to call upon Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante or Thibaut Courtois, all of whom missed out following their involvement at the World Cup.
Meanwhile, it was a chance for Pep Guardiola to show off Manchester City’s ridiculous squad depth.
Ederson was named on the bench while Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva were absent.
And yet Guardiola was still able to include Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero in his starting line-up.
Chelsea fans angry with three players
Man City were on the front foot from the outset and opened the scoring through Sergio Aguero in the 13th minute.
It was 2-0 shortly before the hour mark, Aguero doubling his tally with a fine finish.
The scoreline wasn’t to change as Guardiola’s City picked up where they left off.
Chelsea fans were voicing their frustrations throughout the contest and three players in particular received the strongest criticism.
Alvaro Morata, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro flatted to deceive against Man City and supporters just don’t think they are good enough.
Morata’s struggles appear to have continued from last season – he disappointed in the recent defeat to Arsenal in Dublin – and he was taken off in the 69th minute.
Fabregas was unable to cope against Man City’s intense style; the time he needs to flourish just wasn’t available.
And fans couldn’t understand how Callum Hudson-Odoi was replaced by Willian, instead of Pedro, on the hour mark.
While Hudson-Odoi, 17, looked like Chelsea’s biggest threat, Pedro was hugely disappointing in possession.
Chelsea supporters will take solace in the fact that Hazard and Kante will return.
But it’s hard not to be concerned by the striker situation.
Morata looks bereft of confidence but the Blues have been unable to secure a deal to sign Robert Lewandowski.
It leaves Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham as Morata’s competition, which isn’t ideal.
The positive for Sarri is that the Community Shield will have opened his eyes to some of the weaker areas in his squad.