LONDON (AP) — Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is preparing to test his new attacking formation against defending Premier League champion Manchester City in the Community Shield at Villa Park on Sunday.
Chelsea, last season's FA Cup winner, has overhauled its attacking options despite also winning the Champions League for the first time in its history.
The exit of Didier Drogba to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua and Salomon Kalou to Lille should ensure Fernando Torres leads Chelsea's attack, possibly assisted by new arrival Eden Hazard, Spain teammate Juan Mata or young forward Daniel Sturridge.
"It's certainly going to be a strong team," Di Matteo said. "The players know a win against Man City would be great and give us the right step into the Premier League."
Sturridge received special praise from Di Matteo after returning from Olympic duty with Britain. He was also called up to the England squad on Friday, capping what has been an eventful offseason for the striker.
Sturridge was diagnosed with viral meningitis at the beginning of July and was doubtful to even make the Olympic team, but recovered in time to compete in all four matches, scoring twice.
"He is a very exciting player and it's great for him to be involved in the England squad," Di Matteo said. "He has the ability to play in more than one position. He still has a lot to learn as well, but we are hopeful he can develop even more and become a great player for us.
"There is always competition for places and I try to keep it as open as possible for people fighting for places. Everybody apart from Marko Marin is fit and available."
The only Chelsea recruits who won't be involved are Marin and Brazilian playmaker Oscar, who is still involved in the football tournament at the Olympics.
City manager Roberto Mancini doesn't think a lack of business in the transfer market during the preseason will affect his team's chances of enjoying another successful campaign.
"I am confident with my players because we won the league and also because last year we beat a fantastic team like United," Mancini said. "But you do need to improve at every level. We are a young team and we need to get better, every month, every year."
Mancini said David Silva and Mario Balotelli, who both competed in every round of the European Championship, are unlikely to start the match as they continue to build fitness ahead of the new season.
"Mario and David have had a busy summer, they need more time," said Mancini. "They will probably be on the bench."
It is also doubtful if defender Micah Richards will be fit enough to play, while midfielder Gareth Barry is definitely out of and will miss the start of the season.
"Richards, I think will be out for just this game, he has a small ankle problem," Mancini said. "Gareth, I don't know. I hope that maybe three or four weeks, or one month. But I don't know."
The Community Shield usually takes place at Wembley Stadium, but the Olympics have forced the match to be shifted to Birmingham.