The Community Shield is a one-off game which is held at the beginning of August. It is seen as a pre-cursor to the Premier League season, which typically gets underway the following week.
The match is played between the previous season’s Premier League champions and the FA Cup winners. If one of the side has completed the double, the team who finished second in the top flight will be invited to take part instead.
It is currently held at Wembley Stadium, although it was originally played at Stamford Bridge in West London. A number of different venues have hosted the event including Old Trafford, Maine Road, White Hart Lane and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (when Wembley was being re-built)
The first Community Shield was played in 1908, and it was originally designed to replace the Sheriff of London Charity Shield which has been competed for the last 13 years until the amateurs fell out with the FA. The very first fixture was played between Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers, with the latter being the Southern League Champions. This game is the only Community Shield is the only Community Shield fixture to require a replay following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.
The Shield wasn’t contested between the league champions and the FA Cup winners until 1921, although the 1927 contest saw the return of the professionals vs amateurs format for one year only.
The 1950 Community Shield featured the England World Cup team, who has just returned from touring Canada whereas Spurs, who had just secured the league/cup double played a Football Association XI in 1961. Ten years later, it was played between Leicester City and Liverpool, neither of whom were victorious in the league and cup.
The game hasn’t always been played at the beginning of the season, although this rule has been in place since 1959.
Prior to 1993, if the game ended all-square the trophy was shared, and each was allowed to hold the silverware for six months, but common sense soon prevailed, and a penalty shoot-out was introduced. There is no extra time in a Community Shield, the match will go straight to spotkicks if the scores are level after 90 minutes.
As the game isn’t officially deemed to be a competitive fixture, each team is allowed to use seven subs during the course of the game. Managers will often rotate their squads for this fixture, as they try to improve the fitness of their players.
Manchester United are the most successful side in the Community Shield having been victorious on 17 occasions, as well as drawing the game four times. Arsenal and Liverpool are also into double figures when it comes to successes in this one-off game. United’s 8-4 victory over Swindon in 1911 remains the highest-scoring game in the history of the competition.
Brighton and Hove Albion hold the record for being the only side to prevail in the Community Shield, despite never having secured the league title or won the FA Cup.
Where and When?
The Community Shield takes place seven days before the official start of the new Premier League season. It is held at Wembley Stadium, and typically kicks off at 3pm.
Why is it So Popular?
The Community Shield is a very popular event, although there is often more interest across Europe than there is in the UK. After a barren couple of months, it tends to get football fans excited about the imminent return of the Premier League season.
It is also an opportunity for fans of the two teams involved to see how their squads are shaping up ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
New signings will often get a run out in this contest, and it is often viewed as a chance to make an impression.
What Betting Opportunities are Available?
There are many betting opportunities available on the Community Shield. It is essentially priced up as a standard Premier League match so all of the usual markets are available. Bookmakers will also run a number of specials relating to this one-off game, and new signings can often be subject of boosts or enhancements from many companies.
Key Betting Markets
To Win in 90 Minutes – This is the simplest market for punters to get stuck into. It is a case of predicting which of the two sides will be victorious inside 90 minutes. Also known as 1X2, there are three possible outcomes in this market. The prices can often be a bit uncertain pre-kick off, and can be shaped by team news, which typically arrives an hour before the game.
To Lift the Trophy – This is essentially a case of predicting which of the two participants will collect the silverware at the end of the game. This will incorporate the penalty shoot-out. Prices will be shorter in this market as there are only two possible outcomes.
Goals – Over/Under 2.5 – Because this game is a bit of an unknown, many punters tend to opt for a goals-based bet. This takes the match result out of the equation. The line tends to be set at Under/Over 2.5 Goals, although punters will be able to opt for different lines such as Under/Over 3.5 Goals or a far more cautious Under 1.5/Over 1.5 Goals. The match must contain three or more goals in order for this bet to land.
First Goalscorer/Anytime Goalscorer – This is a great way of having a bet on this match without backing either side to win. It’s always advised to check team line-ups before utilising this market, although the majority of big names are likely to start. The latter requires your chosen player to find the net at any point during the 90 minutes whereas the first goalscorer market offers bigger prices, but they must net the opening goal in order to receive a pay-out.
Highest Scoring Half – This is a market which requires punters to predict which half will be the busiest. Second half odds are often shorter as players begin to tire, especially at this early stage of the season.
Handicaps – Handicaps are a great way of betting if the match outright odds are a little on the short side. In these markets, it is possible to give the underdogs a head start (+1 for example) or give the favourites a handicap to overcome (-1). Your chosen team must still be winning with this handicap applied to their total goals – for example Team A 3-1 Team B. If you take (-1) of Team A’s score, they would still have won the match (2-1)
Both Teams to Score – This market will require both of the sides to get onto the scoresheet. Winning scores could include 1-1, 2-1, 2-2 or 3-2. This is a 50/50, and prices are often fairly short on this market.
Correct Score – This is a market which appeals to more ambitious punters, and is a chance to correct the predict the final score of the Community Shield. Big rewards are available to punters who can correct forecast the result of this game. Results such as 1-1 and 2-1 either way are usually the shortest prices in this market.
Bobby’s Big Betting Tips for the Community Shield
Team News is Pivotal – The team news will typically arrive an hour before KO, and it’s always advised not to rush into your bets until the full XIs have been confirmed. Managers can often put out more experimental sides for this fixture, and that can seriously affect the betting. Also, some players aren’t quite fit enough and may not start this game. Anyone who is betting on the anytime goalscorer markets should be particularly wary of wagering before the line-ups have been confirmed. It’s also worth remembering that with seven subs eligible in this game, it could still be worth backing a player who starts on the bench. There is a good chance they will play some part in this fixture.
Assess the Managers Mindsets – The majority of managers will take this game seriously with Pep Guardiola calling the 2018 fixture “the first of our finals”, however there is a boss who occasionally describes it as a “glorified friendly”. I always read through the pre-match press conferences, and if it doesn’t feel like they’re taking it seriously, I will steer clear. If you can find a boss who will be putting out his strongest XI, and is determined to add more silverware to the cabinet, their team becomes inherently more backable.
Be Extra Cautious During Major Tournament Years – Some managers will give their players an extra week off if they’ve recently featured in an International tournament. Always take a look at the calendar, and asses whether this could potentially affect the outcome of the contest. Eden Hazard was given 2018 off after competing for Belgium in the World Cup Semi-Finals, and this didn’t help Chelsea’s cause.
Don’t expect a Fast Start – Just because two sides are typically high-scoring doesn’t mean that the game will be an entertaining one. It is played at the beginning of the campaign, and fitness can be an issue. It is also played in sweltering conditions, so the first half can often be slow.