It’s probably fair to say that one of the least anticipated games of the season is one that usually comes first – not all, or just any, but the “curtain-raiser” of the English season, the Community Shield. Few really remember the outcome of this game between the previous season’s league and cup winners, and it’s rarely acknowledged as a trophy, even if it does kick the season off positively as United experienced last year.
So, why get excited about Europe’s equivalent, the UEFA Super Cup, which sees the Champions League and Europa League winners face each other in similar style. To start with it’s a rarer appearance, United only having competed three times after cup wins in 1991, ’99 and ’08, winning the first and finishing runners up in the following two. UEFA have tried to glam the cup up a little, with it now featuring on a road tour of Europe (having previously been in Monaco every season from ’98 to ’12) which is why we’re sloping off to Skopje, Macedonia, to face Real Madrid.