Manchester City issued an early warning to their Premier League title rivals as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
Chelsea 0 Manchester City 2
Aguero (13′) scores his 200th goal for City
Bravo provides a couple of nervy moments
Aguero (58′) produces clinical finish
Caballero makes several fine saves
The curtain-raiser to the new season saw the league champions look far sharper than the FA Cup holders, and the early signs are that Maurizio Sarri has plenty of work ahead of him at Stamford Bridge after replacing Antonio Conte three weeks ago.
City created the majority of the chances but had only two goals to show for their efforts – both scored by Sergio Aguero, who finally reached the 200-mark for the club.
Pep Guardiola’s side looked to make early inroads as Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva combined to set up Riyad Mahrez, whose shot from inside the box was blocked, before Leroy Sane failed to hit the target from 25 yards out with three minutes played.
The Blues had their backs to the wall after 13 minutes when Silva turned his marker to feed Phil Foden, who then slipped in Aguero to finish with a low left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner of the net from 14 yards out.
A poor touch from Kyle Walker presented an opening for Alvaro Morata on 25 minutes, but the striker skied his effort from inside the box, while Callum Hudson-Odoi produced a similar result from his 25-yard strike five minutes later.
Claudio Bravo gave City fans a scare three minutes later when he fumbled a shot from Hudson-Odoi, who was causing Walker problems on the left flank, and the Chilean goalkeeper provided another nervy moment in stoppage time as he allowed a long ball from Marcos Alonso to bounce over his head before chasing back to keep it in play.
Aguero looked hungry for more goals in the second half and had a sighter just two minutes in when he dragged an effort wide of the left post from inside the box after Foden had dispossessed Jorginho.
The Argentine could only hit the side-netting two minutes later from an acute angle on the right after being played in by Foden, who forced Willy Caballero into a sharp save with a strike from 20 yards out on 52 minutes.
A swift counter opened up the Blues to devastating effect six minutes later when Ilkay Gundogan fed Silva on the right and the Portuguese winger threaded a pass through to Aguero, who fired past Caballero inside his near post from 15 yards out.
Pedro threatened to pull one back on 65 minutes after he latched onto a loose ball and cut inside from the right to curl a tame shot wide of the left post from the edge of the area.
That’s about as good as it got for Sarri’s men as Aguero went close again on 73 minute with a fiercely-struck volley at the back post that was well saved by Caballero, who had to be at his best to deny Brahim Diaz 10 minutes after space opened up inside the area for a shot.
Caballero was all that stood in the way of a City rout, with the Argentine keeper parrying away a firm left-footed shot from Gabriel Jesus on 85 minutes, before having to thwart Diaz in added time when Walker played him through on goal.