FA Community Shield: Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview
On Sunday, August 6th, the reigning FA Cup winners, Arsenal, will take to the Wembley Stadium pitch at 14:00 local time to take on the Premier League champions, Chelsea. These two London clubs last met in the FA Cup final, during which Arsene Wenger beat Antonio Conte at his own game, but who will win the first piece of silverware this season?
In the Community Shield, Arsenal have won 14 of their 21 appearances, which includes a 1-0 win against Chelsea two years ago. Chelsea, on the other hand, have won just four of their 11 appearances in the competition.
The most recent meeting between Arsenal and Chelsea, albeit a friendly, was in Beijing last month, which saw the Blues trample Arsenal to the tune of 3-0, where Michy Batshuayi scored a brace. In fairness, though, Arsenal had fewer members of their strongest first XI out on the field than Chelsea did.
More important than any new signing, Arsenal still have Alexis Sanchez on their books. But alongside the Chilean ace, the Gunners have also acquired Alexandre Lacazette – a long awaited, true goal scoring striker – and left-back Sead Kolasinac.
Chelsea have boosted their team in many areas, with striker Alvaro Morata coming in to replace the outbound Diego Costa, as well as backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero, centre back Antonio Rüdiger, and defensive midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko becoming Blues.
Chelsea come in as the favourites over Arsenal, with top odds of 6/5 and 23/9, respectively. Both teams may be without their top attacking talents, with Eden Hazard out and Alexis Sanchez’s fitness in question – having only recently returned.
Wenger, as he did in the FA Cup final, will likely match Conte’s 3-4-2-1 formation, with Lacazette as the striker atop the formation. It has been rumoured that Conte will not start big-money signing Morata, and instead start Batshuayi, who impressed in preseason.
With Chelsea’s top two hitmen against Arsenal presumably out – Costa and Hazard – their other, newer players will be looked to for goals. The Gunners, however, have an attacker who has become accustomed to scoring against Chelsea. Theo Walcott has six goals and two assists against the Blues but has only won four of his 18 contests against them.
It’s set to be a great game, and while history is on Arsenal’s side, Chelsea are expected to avenge their FA Cup final defeat.