The women’s Community Shield returns after a 12-year absence on Saturday when Manchester City faces off against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium. The showpiece season-opener hasn’t been hosted since Arsenal beat Everton, 1–0, at Macclesfield’s Moss Rose in front of a modest crowd, though a bigger one than will sadly be on show on today.
Women’s Super League champions Chelsea will face FA Cup holders City in the first of two matches at Wembley.
The men’s game between Liverpool and Arsenal follows in the first Community Shield double-header.
Like the majority of upcoming games around the world, the match between the nation’s top two sides will be played behind closed doors, but Chelsea manager Emma Hayes believes her players won’t be affected.
“Well, there’s no one here at the training ground so they’ve got daily sessions with nobody listening or watching, there’s not a better prep than that,” said Hayes. “I think this is the third or fourth year with the league professional? You’re starting to see the players become more professional in their approach to it. It’s a job, it’s business, it’s getting yourself ready to go to work every day.
“That’s what I’ve started to see even more of and I’m sure other clubs will say the same: that the players are becoming more and more professional in their preparation for everything. I think that will improve the product even further.”
Hayes said double headers in men’s and women’s football “gets lost somewhere under normal circumstances” but it’s a “fantastic decision” to hold one this year while there will be no fans in the 90,000-capacity stadium.
Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor added: “We have to take our hats off to the FA for producing these two big games back-to-back, particularly as we are unable to have supporters there.”