Charity Shield - The Utd v City Clash.. Odds
In-form United good bets to claim Community Shield bragging rights
For a significant chunk of the last 15 years, the Community Shield has not had much significance beyond marking the week before the start of the Premier League.
Often tame affairs, the games offered little insight into the destination of the coming season's championship, with the winners of the last 15 Community Shield matches going on to win the Premier League just six times.
However, the tide has started to turn of late, with five Community Shield holders clinching the title at the end of the season in the last six years.
This adds a certain degree of spice to proceedings on Sunday, although in truth it was hardly needed given the identity of the two teams.
Roberto Mancini's Manchester City earned their first return on Sheikh Mansour's multi-million-pound investment with victory in the FA Cup last season, meaning they will take on title winners and fierce rivals Manchester United in the Wembley showpiece.
Famously derided by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as the club's 'noisy neighbours', the fact that the Citizens beat the Red Devils en route to the final gives them all the more to shout about.
The win is also significant in that it shows City are ready to compete with their Manchester adversaries on the biggest stages, suggesting they are unlikely to be overawed by the situation this weekend.
As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that bwin's 3Way football betting market is so close, with Man United the slight 13/10 favourites to win at bwin
Meanwhile, a draw is available at 9/4 and a Man City victory is priced at 39/20.
Even so, United's status as favourites is fully justified given their recent results against the Citizens.
They might have lost their last match against Mancini's men, but the Red Devils have won six of the two teams' last nine encounters.
Furthermore, they were missing influential forward Wayne Rooney for the FA Cup semi-final defeat, and with the England international available on Sunday Ferguson will be confident of victory.
Another thing that works in United's favour is their sparkling pre-season form.
A replacement for Paul Scholes is still being sought but the recent retiree has not been missed so far this summer, with United winning all five of their friendlies so far - including a 2-1 victory over European champions Barcelona - and scoring 20 goals in the process.
With Rooney scoring four of these goals, he could be a good bet to get his name on the scoresheet again at odds of 7/5.
City, by way of contrast, have one or two headaches up front, with Mario Balotelli blotting his copybook in the US, want-away captain Carlos Tevez on extended leave, Edin Dzeko unconvincing and new signing Sergio Aguero yet to play for the club.
While a recent 3-0 friendly win over Inter Milan hinted at their attacking potential, the fact United have conceded just three goals this summer suggests Man City failing to score could pay dividends at odds of 7/4.
All this points to a United victory, although if the Citizens upset the odds and add more silverware to their trophy cabinet on Sunday then history suggests it could be worth using this as a sign to have a punt on Man City to win the Premier League title at odds of 33/10.
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