Arsenal’s 3-0 Community Shield victory of Manchester City prompted a tidal wave of punting enthusiasm that saw the 13/2 odds about them winning the Premier League next season go straight to the top of oddschecker.com’s most popular bets.
Yet City remain several points shorter in the market to retain their title at 12/5 and there are plenty of reasons not to get too carried with the Gunners one-sided success, including the three below.
A Citizens side of dubious strength were simply too bad to be true.
Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis, key members of the City side that won the league, were all absent.
Not that it could be regarded as an excuse for a performance that was so off colour as to be downright bizarre, with the Gunners missing Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker themselves.
However, despite the Citizens being utterly innocuous in their 58 per cent of possession, they claimed seven corners to Arsenal’s three and actually managed just as many shots (five) as the north Londoners.
Dedryck Boyata’s haplessness contributed to the first two goals.
Would the Belgian be in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad if he wasn’t a ‘home-grown’ player? Unlikely.
By turns rash in the tackle, unconvincing in possession and positionally suspect, his presence was a great help in enabling Arsenal to net with two of their three shots on target.
He wiped out Jack Wilshere instead of getting the ball on it’s way through to Santi Cazorla for the first goal, before being bamboozled by Aaron Ramsey for the second.
Just seven of 22 Community Shield winners have gone on to win the league in the Premier League era.
For those unwilling to trust the evidence set before their mince pies on Sunday afternoon, history is on hand to add further ballast to the argument that the pre-season ‘trophy’ is a wonky barometer for the season ahead.