It is only the Community Shield but Arsenal will regard the way they came back to defeat the champions Chelsea as a significant marker for the forthcoming season. Certainly their celebrations spoke of more than just a final pre-season curtain-raiser after substitute Olivier Giroud stroked his spot-kick past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as Arsenal won a penalty shoot-out 4-1.
That shoot-out came under the new ‘ABBA’ system and capped a bizarre afternoon for Chelsea who appeared destined to win after getting the first goal even though Arsenal had a better start to the game, but tasted defeat instead as Courtois – strangely – and record signing Alvaro Morata both missed from the spot. Both missed the goal entirely, in fact.
The shoot-out, after no extra-time, was forced by Sead Kolasinac with a close-range header and the identity of Arsenal’s scorer will fuel Chelsea’s sense of injustice and events conspiring against them: claiming a penalty when Willian went down in the first-half, only for the Brazilian to be booked for simulation, to feeling Pedro was harshly dealt with when he was dismissed for apparently raking Mohamed Elneny’s calf with a rash challenge. Chelsea tried to sign Kolasinac last January but instead he punished them as he met Granit Xhaka’s free-kick following Pedro’s foul. The Bosnian on a Bosman appears a fine acquisition for Arsenal.
Per Mertesacker had to go off after 30 minutes, struck by Gary Cahill’s flailing arm in the Arsenal box. On came another of Arsenal’s summer signings, Kolasinac.
Moses went from being Wembley scapegoat to almost Wembley hero as he opened the scoring for the blues. Earlier in the game Arsenal’s new boy Alexandre Lacazette came close to scoring as his well placed shot hit the goal post.
Arsene wenger brought in Giroud and Walcott at the 65th minutes when the gunners where trailing but they had little or no impact in the game. This changed as soon as Chelsea went one man down, Arsenal where able to dominate the game more and from then it always looked like they would snatch the win.
Morata wasted a late chance to win it before the match went to penalties and Arsenal extended their winning record at Wembley. Many gunners will be proud of this victory because their star men in Alexis and Ozil were not involved in the game. Also some notable figures like Ramsey, Koscielny and Mustafi were also rested.
Cech 7 Cortois 6
Holding 7 Luiz 7
Monreal 7 Cahill 7
Mertesacker 6.5 Azpilicueta 6.5
Elneny 7 Fabregas 6.5
Xhaka 7.5 Moses 7
Chamberlain 7 Alonso 6
Bellerin 6.5 Kante 6
Welbeck 7.5 Pedro 5.5
Iwobi 7 Willian 6.5
Lacazette 7 Batshuayi 6