Manchester City kicked off the campaign with silverware as Sergio Aguero’s double saw off Maurizio Sarri’s undercooked Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Continuing where they left off last season, Pep Guardiola’s side dominated from the outset on a sweltering Sunday afternoon at Wembley – with their top marksman going through the 200-goal barrier for the club.
Aguero struck either side of half-time in a win that was far more comprehensive than the 2-0 scoreline suggests, sealing a fifth Community Shield for Premier League champions City as a Chelsea side lacking key players and preparation toiled.
Sarri has only been in the hotseat for three weeks after the west Londoners parted company with Antonio Conte, despite the former boss leading them to FA Cup glory in May and the previous season’s Premier League title.
Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Thibaut Courtois were among the high-profile absentees that Chelsea’s manager had to deal without against a surprisingly strong City side boasting six of their World Cup stars in the starting line-up.
Aguero was among them and took just 13 minutes to net his 200th goal for the club after collecting a pass from 18-year-old Phil Foden.
Surprisingly it took until the 58th minute for City to grab another, when the impressive Bernardo Silva slipped their all-time top scorer in to fire home his second.
While to many the Community Shield is only a glorified friendly, some see it as a shot at silverware not to be sniffed at and Guardiola’s pleasure was clear after adding to last season’s Premier League and Carabao Cup crowns.
As for Chelsea, new manager Sarri has a lot of work to do before next Saturday’s Premier League opener at Huddersfield.
It looked ominously one-sided from the outset, with Leroy Sane soon threatening before City built from the back to send Foden galloping forward.
The teenager laid off to Aguero as soon as David Luiz made a meek attempt at a challenge, with the striker sending a low effort past former City team-mate Willy Caballero.
Guardiola punched the air after a goal that City had chances to add to before Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata tried his luck from distance, with 17-year-old livewire Callum Hudson-Odoi having two of his own attempts after a planned water break.
The second effort from Hudson-Odoi was somehow spilled by Claudio Bravo, who soon endured an even more embarrassing moment after somehow misreading the bounce of a hopeful ball forwards, seeing it bounce over him and racing back to save his blushes.
But Chelsea’s threats were fleeting, and City never looked flummoxed, even when Aguero wasted a glorious chance when rounding Caballero to fire into the side-netting in the 50th minute.
Within eight minutes his 201st City goal arrived, darting between Luiz and Antonio Rudiger to meet a fine Silva ball with a smart finish.
Pedro and City summer signing Riyad Mahrez had attempts at goal, before Caballero’s defiance prevented Aguero from completing a hat-trick with a volleyed effort.
Widespread substitutions and the heat made the game stretched, although Brahim Diaz was looking to make an impact off the City bench.
He fired into the side-netting and then forced Caballero into action, with fellow substitute Gabriel Jesus stinging the goalkeeper’s palms before Bravo prevented Tammy Abraham meeting a cross at the other end.
Diaz was able to force Caballero into one more save in stoppage-time, when Rudiger threw himself in front of Silva’s attempt to add gloss to the scoreline.