Pre-season friendly? Forget it! Community Shield means war, says Manchester City’s James Milner

James Milner views Arsenal as title pretenders so the midfielder says Manchester City will look to send out a clear message in Sunday’s Community Shield.

City face the emboldened FA Cup winners at Wembley Stadium at the weekend, with the Premier League champions hoping a victory over the Gunners at the scene of their Capital One Cup triumph in February will give them the edge.

City will also hope a victory does not then send their season into a downward spiral, the same fate that befell bitter rivals Manchester United last year.

“The Community Shield is always a good game to be playing in,” the 28-year old Milner told the club website.

“It gives you a bit of a headstart on the other teams who are still playing friendlies.

“It’s an important game for us and it’s a piece of silverware we really want to win.”

The ex-Aston Villa midfielder also asserted that coming against the newly strengthened Arsenal, boasting new signings Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy, will be a great opportunity to suss out a potential title rival.

“Arsenal are a really good team and they always give us a tough match. I think they’ll be challenging for the title this season-they’ve made some good additions.”

However, the Blues have made some great acquisitions that have added even more to their enviable squad depth.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini completed the signing of Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero after the departure of Costel Pantilimon, Brazilian Fernando from FC Porto and right-back Bacary Sagna, who is set to make his competitive debut against his former club on Sunday.

With these new boys aiding their defence of the Premier League crown, there is a thirst among those at the club for progressing further in the Champions League, which is the only competition that has proved to be a tough nut to crack.

For Milner, his colleagues new or old and boss Pellegrini it seems that the mantra at Eastlands is that success breeds success.

City begin their league campaign at Newcastle United on August 16.

Main image courtesy of Manchester City FC via YouTube, with thanks.

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