The Covid-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown have had a lasting effect on society and sport with football being hit hard. Seasons have been curtailed and there are very real talks of clubs being almost on the breadline. It has also thrown timings of seasons etc into a sense of disarray.
Domestic seasons, that would normally have been over in early May will now end late July and cup competitions have suffered a similar knock-on effect. The traditional season curtain opener, the Community Shield, has been thrown into disarray with two of the FA Semi-Finalists (Manchester City and Manchester United) could be unavailable to play due to commitments in Europe.
The Community Shield pits the Premier League winners against the FA Cup winners and involvement in European competition for the Manchester sides would mean that they would not be able to field a side to take on runaway Premier League winners Liverpool.
There was some talk two days ago that Leeds United, should they win the Sky Bet Championship, be invited to take on Liverpool in a battle of the leagues in the Community Shield. After all, the Community Shield is effectively an FA invitation event.
However, that notion has been dispelled in new carried by the Daily Mail’s Mail Online portal. They say:
“The FA’s preferred option if the Cup winners are unavailable is to invite the most successful club in the Shield’s history, which is Arsenal, who have lifted the trophy 15 times.“
An Arsenal invite from the FA would mean that the Gunners participation would happen even if they lose their FA Cup Semi-Final against Manchester City. It would also rob Leeds United of the opportunity of pitting their strength in an arm wrestle against the excellence that is Liverpool.