All eyes on the Community shield

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Is the Leicester City fairytale about to come crashing to an end? Can Jose Mourinho mould his talented Manchester United parts into a smooth attacking machine? Will both sides attain the top four finish they crave?  

Fans will start to get an idea for the answers of these questions when the two clubs face off in Monday's Community Shield clash - the traditional curtain-raiser to the Premier League season proper. 

While the intensity might not match that of the big show a week later, there is plenty of intrigue in a match that pits two headline-hogging teams, albeit for vastly different reasons, against each other. 

We run the rule over all the interesting stuff ahead of the big game.

Key battles

Zlatan Ibrahimovic v Ahmed Musa

Several new signings will be out to prove their worth, especially up front with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ahmed Musa impressing in their respective club debuts.

The jury is still out on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after the 34 year-old joined United from Paris Saint Germain and a commanding performance against the reigning champion will be the perfect way to silence critics who say Ibra is too old to spearhead Manchester United’s attack.

If pre-season performances are anything to go off, expect big things from the big Swede in the Community Shield.

Foxes fans are expecting big things from new signing Ahmed Musa, after the 23 year-old compared himself to Jamie Vardy when he signed for the Foxes in.

The pacy striker appears to be a handy addition to Claudio Ranieri’s side, with an impressive double in the 4-2 International Champions Cup defeat to Barcelona.

Claudio Ranieri v Jose Mourinho

A frosty history between these two, after Jose Mourinho infamously replaced Claudio Ranieri as Chelsea Boss in 2004. Since that day, Ranieri longed for vindication and got it in last season, when he brought Leicester's Premier League title to Stamford bridge on the last day of the season.

Ranieri got the upper hand the last time these two squared off, and Mourinho was sacked the next day as Chelsea languished in the bottom half of the Premier League.

Keep an eye on

Danny Drinkwater

Ngolo Kante’s $55 million move to Chelsea leaves a gaping hole in Leicester’s midfield, putting added responsibility on Danny Drinkwater.

Leicester signed Nampalys Mendy to replace Kante, but until he settles in, the Foxes desperately need Drinkwater to steady the ship and Monday's clash is the perfect opportunity to make Leicester's midfield his own.

Wayne Rooney

The club captain has a battle on his hands to hold down a starting spot in Jose Mourinho’s side.

Mourinho has ruled out playing Rooney in midfield and the likes of Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are all vying for a spot in what’s shaping up to be a formidable attacking side.

The 30 year-old has plenty to prove after a captaining England to a disappointing UEFA EURO 2016 campaign.

Eric Bailly

Versatile Villarreal defender Bailly was Mourinho's first signing as Manchester United manager, with the Red Devils were regularly left exposed at the back last season. Mourinho has shown his eye for talent and believes he can mould the 22 year-old into another Raphael Varane.

A strong performance in the Community Shield would put the Ivory Coast defender in pole position to start Manchester United's Premier League season.

The key stats

  • United has won the Community Shield 20 times, five more than any other team. 
  • United has only lost once in its last 15 games against the Foxes.
  • It cost Wayne Rooney's weekly wage, plus $85,000 to sign Riyad Mahrez from French second division side Le Havre.
  • Leicester was a 5000-1 underdog to win the Premier League last season
  • Claudio Ranieri has managed 14 sides in his 30-year career, and last season's Premier League title was the first top-flight league trophy.

Our tip

Leicester City 1 – 2 Manchester United