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Friday, Dec 26th

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Arsenal have started the 2014-15 season exactly how they ended the last one with silverware in their hands following a well deserved 3-0 win in the FA Community Shield against Premier League champions Manchester City. Two of Arsenal's goals came in the first half through their FA Cup heroes in Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey. Substitute Olivier Giroud added a third around the hour mark to kill the game as a contest.

Neither side came into this game at full strength due to the massive World Cup commitments of their star players, but there was enough quality on display in both starting elevens to make this a competitive contest. In the absence of their German contingent, Arsenal handed debuts to Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy, while Manchester City were missing their Argentine stars and also handed first time starts to Fernando and Willy Caballero.

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Arsenal will have to be wary of Italian competition as they prepare to bring in reinforcements for departing captain Thomas Vermaelen. Tuttosport reports that Juventus have entered the transfer market with the objective of buying a defender and sooner than not, their sights will settle on Arsenal target Matija Nastasic.

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In what comes across as surprising news, Liverpool have decided to sell Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure to Turkish giants Trabzonspor for £1.6m after a solitary season on Merseyside.

According to the site, Toure was supposed to have a role in the Liverpool first team for this season under Brendan Rodgers but with chances of playing time dangerously lowered by the arrival of Dejan Lovren, the Ivorian has decided a move to Turkey would serve him better.

Toure will earn £2m per year excluding bonuses and will travel to Turkey along with Manager Vilad Halilhodzic to finalize the deal next week.

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Reus going nowhere

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have once again been warned off making attempts to unsettle Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus with reports in the Metro suggesting that Dortmund will do everything in their power to retain their star man.

Man United make bumper offer for Angel

The Daily Express reports that Manchester United have offered Real Madrid a whopping £55m for 26-year-old Argentine winger Angel Di Maria. Los Blancos are certain to accept the offer as they look to balance their books this summer, but it remains to be seen if Di Maria is open to the prospect of joining United.

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Chelsea and Arsenal have always endured a love-hate relationship, with the rivalry usually threatening to boil over on the pitch as well as off it. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho doesn't enjoy what many would call a ‘healthy’ relationship with the Arsenal faithful and Gunners legend Martin Keown has now hit out at the Portuguese’ much acclaimed ‘Special One’ tag.

In an interview with the Daily Star, Keown directed some spite towards Mourinho by stating, “Mourinho had something when he was first at Chelsea and then at Inter Milan but then he lost it a bit at Real Madrid. He was the ordinary one last season. I was surprised Chelsea did not win it last year. He will be under a bit of pressure this season and it will be interesting.”

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The English football season’s curtain raiser, the Community Shield will be played this Sunday at Wembley between the Premier League champions Manchester City and the FA Cup winners Arsenal. As we come towards the end of the pre-season, the two sides will be hoping to get a fair measure of where they stand, fitness-wise and preparation wise for the Premier League season 2014-2015 that starts the following weekend.

Having said that, both sides would also want to have a good start to the season by winning this rather glorified game to pep up their spirits for next season. According to Betfair odds, Manchester City are the narrow favourites to win this game, but Arsenal have the added motivation to pick up some much needed silverware and that could help them over the line.

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Top Transfer Stories

Man United plot triple defensive swoop

Manager Louis Van Gaal is finally getting his act together in the transfer market with different sources in the press confirming the presence of multiple bids being lined up for defensive cover. While Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed the presence of a bid for his skipper Thomas Vermaelen, the Daily Star reports that the Red Devils are also keen on bringing in Roma star Mehdi Benatia. The Daily Mail meanwhile reports that United are close to sealing a move for Dutch star Daley Blind, who Van Gaal coached as part of the Netherlands' World Cup squad.

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