Sunday 2nd August – 15:00 – Wembley Stadium
It’s the annual English curtain raiser before the start of the league season next weekend – the Community Shield, and this year it will be contested between FA Cup winners Arsenal and Premier League winners Chelsea. The Gunners return to Wembley after beating both Reading and Aston Villa there last season on their way to cup glory. The Blues were also victorious under the arch as they beat Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final, before going onto to win the league, in which Arsenal finished third. Both sides have been relatively quiet in the transfer market so far, but the big story is that Petr Cech will face his former side after signing for Arsenal this summer. He is their only signing, whilst Chelsea have only brought in Falcao and Asmir Begovic. The West Londoners have previously won this trophy four times, whilst the North Londoners have 13 in their cabinet – five of which have been won under Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman faces his great rival Jose Mourinho in the dugout for 14th time, but is still yet to beat him. Some people call this game a friendly, but it will most certainly not be with these two in charge.
- After winning the Copa America with Chile, Alexis Sanchez has been given an extended break so will not feature at Wembley.
- Ex Blue Petr Cech will though, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping for a start after overcoming persistent injury problems.
- Danny Welbeck is still struggling with a knee problem so is sidelined, as is Tomas Rosicky, who has been sidelined since early June with the same injury
- Gary Cahill and Diego Costa are both available after suffering injuries in Chelsea’s final pre-season tour match against Barcelona.
- The latter will compete with Falcao and Loic Remy for the starting spot as another season of competition upfront ensues.
- We’re likely to see a very similar side to that of last season from Jose Mourinho, as he hopes the winning formula will stay the same.
The Key Battle: Petr Cech vs Diego Costa
All eyes will be on Petr Cech at Wembley, as he makes his first competitive start in an Arsenal shirt, and it couldn’t be much bigger than facing his old club Chelsea, who he won 15 trophies with, including the Community Shield twice.
The Gunners paid around £10 million for him this summer after lacking consistency in between the sticks in recent years. They hope that Cech can solve that problem, and at 33 years old he is in his prime for a goalkeeper and could prove to be a very good bit of business by Arsene Wenger.
Diego Costa will be out to score past his former team-mate and get his season off to just as good a start as 2014-15. The striker netted seven times in his first four Blues appearances, and ended the campaign with an impressive 20 goals in all competitions.
Costa is almost certainly Mourinho’s first choice to play as his lone striker, but the arrival of Falcao, as well as last season’s stand-in Loic Remy, does give him competition.
Arsenal wins = 66 / Chelsea wins = 55 / Draws = 49
Last Meeting: Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea (26th April 2015)
Chelsea took another step towards clinching the Premier League title after a goalless draw at Arsenal ensured they remained 10 points clear at the top of the league. The home fans vented their frustration with chants of “boring boring Chelsea” at the final whistle after the Gunners failed to make the most of their second-half chances, but this was the performance of a Blues side fixing a steely gaze and determination on the title. The visitors had three first-half penalty claims ignored by referee Michael Oliver, twice for incidents involving Oscar and the other on former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas.
Stat of the Match
The last two red cards shown in the Community Shield match have been to Chelsea and Arsenal – Branislav Ivanovic for the Blues in 2012 and Francis Jeffers for Arsenal in 2003.
Where can I watch it?
The match is being broadcast live from Wembley on BT Sport 2 from 2:30pm, with kick-off half an hour later, whilst there is also coverage on the new BT Sport Ultra HD channel, from 2.50pm. Highlights will then be shown on BT Sport 1 at 5:30pm.
My Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
Without Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal may lack the killer instinct that they need to beat the champions, who should put out a full strength side at Wembley. The Gunners will still score through Olivier Giroud in a very competitive game, but it will be Chelsea who will win the first piece of silverware of the season thanks to two goals from Eden Hazard – starting as he means to go on.