Short answer: No
Long answer: The Community shield is no more than a glorified friendly. It is not a major, it is not even an honour. Those that portray it to be so are clutching to straws, trying to add to their clubs trophy count.
The Community Shield is a curtain raiser. An aperitif. An Hors d’oeuvres. Clubs in the Community Shield usually reduce the amount of friendlies they play by one, as clubs use it to prepare for what is important, the start of the Premier League the weekend after. The fact that you can make 6 substitutions shows that it is not a competitive game.
I do not know when people started to count the Community Shield as a trophy, but my first memory was Liverpool in 2001. The year their fans claimed to have won “5 trophies in 1 season”. Despite 2 of these trophies being glorified friendlies (Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup) and both being in the season after they won a poor mans treble.
I guess where counting the Community Shield comes out of desperation. Liverpool fans in 2001 included it as they were jealous of Manchester United’s treble 2 years earlier. They attempted to show winning 5 trophies in
1 season 2 seasons was superior to Manchester United’s treble. It wasn’t.
Manchester United took it a step further a few years later. Having overtaken Liverpool’s English League Champions haul, Liverpool fans were quick to point out that they had still won more major honours then United, by the time the FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup and minor European trophies were taken into account. In response, Manchester United fans added their 20 Community Shields to their total plus other glorified global friendlies to show that they were England’s most successful club with 62 honours to Liverpool’s 60.
In a world where everyone gets their statistics from Wikipedia, the site has now included the likes of the Community Shield, the UEFA Super Cup & the FIFA Club World Cup in their list of Most England’s Most Successful Clubs. Everyone knows, deep down, that these do not really matter.
Arsenal fans went a bit OTT over last years victory against Manchester City. After 10 years with no trophy, being able to celebrate “2 trophies in 4 months” was too much for some fans. They celebrated the Community Shield victory a little bit too hard.
A trip to Wembley is always a good day out, no matter what you are going there for, but celebrating the Community Shield and treating it like an honour is something done by the desperate. I am sure back in the 90s & 00s, Manchester United fans did not care about the Community Shield, but after a few barren years, they will cling to it as their last trophy won as if it was a major honour.
Of course, there is more than just the trophy on offer. The Community Shield is an opportunity to see where you are for the forthcoming season. A victory will create optimism within the fans, that this year could be our year. A defeat and the bright clouds of pre-season will soon be darkened.
Last season, Arsenal beating Manchester City comfortably showed to the side and fans that they can compete, and I am sure the victory was one reason why we played so well in both games against them and did not lose either.
This season, it is an opportunity to test ourselves against Chelsea. A chance for Arsene Wenger to finally beat Jose Mourinho. For Arsenal to beat Chelsea for the first time in 8 games. Then again, it is not a competitive game, so will it really count? Probably not. Depends how desperate you are.
As for it setting you up well for the season, showing you where you are, the truth is the Community Shield has very little bearing on who wins the league. Since the turn of the century, the Community Shield Winners have gone on to win the Premier League 5 times. That is just 5 times in 15 years.
And that is boasted by 5 times in 6 years. It is clear that the Community Shield has very little bearing on the winner of the Premier League.
In 2013/14, Manchester United won the Community Shield. United fans went into hysteria, creating all sorts of meme’s showing that David Moyes had won 1 trophy in in the 3 months he had been at the club, whilst Arsene Wenger had not won a trophy at Arsenal in 10 years. Fast forward 9 months, Arsenal were at Wembley lifting the FA Cup, whilst Moyes had been sacked and Manchester United finishing 7th.
The Community Shield is a good day out. It is sunny, it is a laugh, meet up with the lads who you haven’t seen for a few months, have a few beers and get back into the swing of things. But the result? It does not really matter.
Is it important to win the Community Shield? No.