Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko could miss Community Shield vs Man City to play in charity match
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Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko may be forced to miss the Community Shield against his former club Manchester City because of his involvement in a charity match on the same weekend.
Arsenal will face City in the season curtain-raiser on Sunday August 6 after Pep Guardiola's side beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
The Community Shield typically pits the Premier League champions against the winners of the FA Cup in a pre-season friendly.
But in seasons where the same team has won both competitions, as is the case with City this year, the second spot in the Community Shield goes to the Premier League runner-up.
Arsenal will therefore take on City at Wembley but could be without Zinchenko, who is due to play in a charity match the previous day.
Zinchenko and fellow Ukrainian legend Andriy Shevchenko have organised the match, Game 4 Ukraine, to be played at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium on Saturday August 5 – the day before the Community Shield.
The match is being staged to raise funds to help re-build Ukraine's infrastructure and facilities following last year's invasion by Russia and the ongoing war.
Zinchenko now faces a difficult choice over whether to pull out of the charity match, to only play a minimal role in it – or risk playing both games in full, days before the start of the new Premier League season.
Zinchenko: Ukraine won't give up
Zinchenko will be reluctant to withdraw from the charity game he has helped to organise.
While many his age are fighting on the frontline in Ukraine, the 26-year-old has tried to play a role for his country through sport.
On a recent visit to Ukraine, his first trip back to his homeland since the start of the war, Zinchenko told CNN: "Difficult is for our soldiers who are staying on the front line, for the people who are taking a risk every single minute during these days to help Ukraine and to defend our land. That's the people for whom it is difficult.
"For me, to be honest, I would say that maybe Ukrainian people are not the most talented people around the world, let’s say in football, but I know for sure that our mentality and our character is so strong.
"We're never going to give up and we’re going to adapt in all cases and we’re going to fight until the very end."
Zinchenko met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week, later describing the meeting as an honour.
The pair discussed the upcoming charity match in London, which will be broadcast free for Ukrainians.
When asked who else might feature in the game aside from himself and Shevchenko, Zinchenko added: "We would like to keep it quiet.
"But for sure, it's going to be so interesting."