Competition: FA Community Shield – Arsenal FC vs. Chelsea FC
Venue: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, August 2 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)
Match Odds: Arsenal 9/5 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 7/5
Some supporters claim the Community Shield is irrelevant, but these London rivals will see this as the ideal chance to get their season off to the perfect start and will be out to win the first piece of silverware of the campaign.
The Gunners won last year’s title, beating Manchester City 3-0 in emphatic style to claim their 13th Community Shield and first since 2004.
They are taking part as FA Cup winners once again and will be looking to continue their fine run of four-straight wins over the course of preseason against Singapore XI, Everton, Lyon and Wolfsburg. They have won the Barclays Asia Trophy and Emirates Cup over the course of July and will now hope to defend the Community Shield.
That will be a real challenge for the Gunners though as they have not beaten Chelsea in any of the last six meetings, with the Blues winning four of those.
Add that to the fact that Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and it’s easy to see why the Premier League champions are slight favourites.Embed from Getty Images
They come into the game off the back of their preseason tour of the USA, in which they faced New York Red Bulls, PSG and Barcelona in the International Champions Cup.
They failed to win any of those games in normal time, but did beat PSG and Barcelona on penalties after losing 4-2 to the Red Bulls.
Mourinho is a specialist in setting his sides up for big games and Sunday will be no different as he will want to stretch his unbeaten run against Wenger to 14 games and start the campaign with silverware.Embed from Getty Images
The Blues beat Arsenal 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first meeting last season before the two sides played out a lifeless 0-0 draw at the Emirates in April.
Arsenal look set to be without Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, David Ospina and Alexis Sanchez, while Mathieu Flamini is a doubt. Petr Cech should make his first official start in goal with Hector Bellerin expected to get the nod at the right-back.
Chelsea have no injury concerns after Diego Costa and Gary Cahill were both passed fit to play on Sunday. Cahill should start alongside John Terry in defence, though Loic Remy or Radamel Falcao could get the nod over Costa in attack.
Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/W
Chelsea’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/D/D
Key Stat: 70% of Community Shield winners have gone on to finish the Premier League season higher than the team they beat at Wembley in the curtain raiser.
Key Player: Petr Cech – The new Arsenal goalkeeper will more than likely lineup against his former club just a month after leaving his 11-year employers. He will need to be at his best to give the Gunners a chance of winning.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea – Expecting another tight contest between the London rivals, with Chelsea just edging it by the odd goal. Arsenal haven’t scored in any of the last five games against the Blues and need to change that record to have any chance of retaining their title in this early season treat.