Arsenal v CHELSEA: Community Shield Preview

Date: Sunday 6th August, 2017
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Kick-off: 14:00 BST

Today’s game between the two sides equals the most played fixture at the new Wembley, along with Chelsea v Spurs and Chelsea v Manchester United (four each), so clearly we’re not shy of the venue. In fact, it’s only 10 weeks since our last visit, even if we failed to turn up against Arsenal in the FA Cup.
Of course, we played today’s opponents again in pre-season and came out of that with a 3-0 win but none of us will be kidding ourselves this game will be anything like as easy. We’ve had a mixed pre-season and aside from the excessive whinging at not signing anything like a £200m player, I’m not sure what we’re supposed to take from it.
I suspect we won’t see the finished article on display today though, with Conte’s work in the transfer market not yet complete and 2 or possibly 3 first team players absent. Not that I’m getting the excuses in early (I’ll leave that to Arsenal), it is what it is and we’ll have to turn up this time if we want to avoid more ‘Mourinho season’ comparisons.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into today’s game, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says “For us, it is just a good opportunity to repeat the performance from the FA Cup final. I would say that Chelsea look like they have kept the basis of 95% of their squad. They have added Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is a very strong player, a strong ball-winner, similar to Nemanja Matic, maybe less of a distance runner but more of an impact player – but certainly they will fight for the championship again. They have replaced Costa with Morata. Morata is maybe less of a goalscorer than Costa, but he can score and provide as well.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte meanwhile, says “It was a pity to lose the FA Cup final against Arsenal after a really great season for us. Now there is another game. We know very well Arsenal are a strong team. We are expecting a difficult game and we want to start the season with a win. I think the friendlies have ended for us. This is an official game and the first trophy of the season. It’s an important game, for sure.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Arsenal, despite all the speculative nonsense in the press, Alexis Sanchez returned to training Tuesday after illness, so he’s obviously playing. New signings Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac are also in line to feature, but Francis Coquelin (ankle), Gabriel (knee) and Jack Wilshere (leg) will miss out through injury. Laurent Koscielny’s suspension doesn’t apply to this game.
For Chelsea, Eden Hazard (ankle) and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko (knee) won’t be ready for another couple of games. Pedro is a doubt after a forearm smash from Ospina in our pre-season game although could play some part in a mask. Victor Moses is available, with his ban to be served in the league. Michy Batshuayi and Alvaro Morata could both play, whilst Diego Costa will probably spend the day on the lash, making snide comments about the Chelsea boss.

TEAMS
ARSENAL (Possible line-up): Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Batshuayi

LAST MEETING
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea (27 May 2017) FA Cup

RECENT FORM
ARSENAL: LWLDWD
CHELSEA: LLWLWW

OTHER STUFF
* The FA Cup winners have never gone on to beat the same opponent in the following season’s Community Shield
* The FA Cup winners have won each of the last three Community Shields.
* This will be the third Community Shield between Chelsea and Arsenal – and we’re 1 apiece as it stands (Chelsea 2005) (Arsenal 2015)
* This will be Chelsea’s 12th Community Shield appearance. Arsenal’s 22nd
* Chelsea have won the Community Shield four times – 1955, 2000, 2005 and 2009.
* Chelsea have lost their last three Community Shield matches, the last one against Arsenal
* Chelsea will hold the record for appearances at Wembley Stadium since it reopened in 2007 (17)
* Arsenal lost their first two matches at the new Wembley Stadium, but have won on all eight visits since

PRE-MATCH COMMENT

TWITTER
@parkedthebus Despite initially saying that it was only Hazard and Bakayoko out of tomorrow’s game, Conte added that Pedro is also injured, by the way.
@Thibauted If only he could play Boga LW. Not even taking a chance, the boy is good enough.
@cesc4official Kicking off a new season! Who’s going to watch it??!! #CommunityShield #ArsenalChelsea @ChelseaFC
@MadMontana (on Sandro) Swear these bids are going down…. Chelsea must have put Rodney & Trigger in charge of negotiations

BACK PAGES
Telegraph: Community Shield will trial ‘ABBA’ system if Arsenal vs Chelsea goes to a penalty shootout
Daily Star: “Sorry you couldn’t kill me”: Wenger’s a survivor
Express: “People want to kill me……but I’m surviving” says Wenger

PUNDITS
“Dare I say it: Diego Costa signs for Atletico Madrid and then gets loaned out to Liverpool? It would be quite a dream, wouldn’t it? I’d take him for six months.” (Phil Thompson)
“(Morata) is not ahead of Lacazette on talent but he’s more of a complete player and will suit his new team better. I thought he would replace Karim Benzema at Real Madrid this season — he could be a star.” (Cascarino)

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