Arsenal Vs Chelsea: Community Shield highlights and analysis

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Sead Kolasinac of Arsenal scores his sides first goal during the The FA Community Shield final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 6, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Sead Kolasinac of Arsenal scores his sides first goal during the The FA Community Shield final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 6, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /

Arsenal took on Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday. Here is the full recap, all the highlights and analysis from the 1-1 draw.

Win or lose, penalties are a lottery. They are always nice to win and always horrible to lose. For Arsenal and Chelsea, even though the Community Shield is considered a lesser trophy, that is true on Sunday.

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It was indeed Arsenal who were victorious on Sunday after Thibault Courtois and Alvaro missed consecutive penalties, with all four of Arsene Wenger’s men converting their respective spot kicks. The Community Shield is not the most accomplished trophy. But it is a win nonetheless and gives Arsenal a promising and hopeful feeling entering the new season.

The first half started brightly for the Gunners. Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi were especially spritely, enjoying the freedom that they were afforded in the two wide roles either side of Alexandre Lacazette in Arsene Wenger’s 3-4-3 system. Granit Xhaka dictated play well from a deeper-lying position while both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin ensured that there was attacking width on either side.

The chances, although half-chances they may have been, did start to come as a result. Iwobi danced to the by-line, gliding past David Luiz in the process, before just failing to find Lacazette with a stretched pull-back, Welbeck nicked the ball off of Cesar Azpilicueta and was driving at an exposed Chelsea defence before being cynically dragged down, while Iwobi again found his way to the by-line after a neat one-two with Mohamed Elneny, again unable to find any support with the low cross, smothered by the onrushing Thibault Courtois.

Chelsea did grow into the game a little, with Cesc Fabregas able to find his way into the midfield, but the best chance of the opening stanzas fell to Alexandre Lacazette. After turning away and breaking forward with the ball, Lacazette played the ball wide to Hector Bellerin before receiving it once more in Chelsea’s half. This time playing it wide to Danny Welbeck on the left, the Frenchman patiently pulled back, waiting for the return pass, before setting himself and striking the foot of the post with a beautifully curled effort.

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But there were moments of danger at the other end. Michy Batshuayi nearly got on the end of a loose ball, if not a sprawling Petr Cech who was able to clear with his legs, Victor Moses flashed a low cross in, with Cech again clearing with his legs, and then Pedro, who was able to drive at Rob Holding, shifted the ball onto his left foot and struck a good shot at goal that was comfortably parried away by Cech.

Per Mertesacker was forced off with a bleeding nose after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face from Gary Cahill, and Sead Kolasinac, who impressed early on with a few surging runs forward, replaced him, with Nacho Monreal shifting into the central role of the three centre-halves, but the game did fizzle out a little towards the end, with both sides seemingly happy to get to half-time. Arsenal were perhaps the better of the two sides but it was only marginal and chances were few and far between.

The second half started and it was immediately evident that Arsenal had not returned from the dressing room. Immediately from kick off, they passed the ball slowly around the back, inviting pressure onto them. Chelsea pressed high and won the corner from a Sead Kolasinac mistake. The corner was terribly cleared by Granit Xhaka who skied the clearance into the air. Gary Cahill won the returning header and Victor Moses, the only player looking alive, ghosted in at the far post and stabbed a shot from close range past Petr Cech. It was terrible defending from Arsenal, with Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin particularly unaware, and again showcased their weakness from set pieces.

As the second half progressed, Arsenal grew into the game. Alex Iwobi continued to buzz around the final third, Danny Welbeck was released down the left channel, only to be sounded out by a smart David Luiz tackle after taking too long to commit to the cross and Alexandre Lacazette looked sharp before being withdrawn just after the hour mark.

Arsenal continued to have the better of the game but found clear-cut chances difficult to carve out. Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin linked up well down the right flank, with the former playing a dangerous cross in, while Granit Xhaka drew a wonderful, straining, stretched save from Thibault Courtois with a long-range effort. But Olivier Giroud was kept quiet and Danny Welbeck was non-existent.

And then, drama! It first came with Pedro and Mohamed Elneny. The Egyptian had bundled his way past the Chelse winger, only for a sliding challenge, with a flash of the studs, to clip his Achilles’ heel. A foul was given but with both players receiving treatment, Bobby Madley waiting patiently to dish out the punishment. Yellow was expected. Red came.

From the resultant free-kick, Granit Xhaka curled a lovely, inswinging delivery towards the far post, for new boy Sead Kolasinac, who had continued to impress in a bulldozing display, to power home a header back across the face of Thibault Courtois’ goal and nestling into the bottom corner.

The remaining moments were played as expected: ten man Chelsea sat deep, happy to wait out for penalties, and Arsenal tried to engineer chances — Theo Walcott did have a couple of openings, working behind Cesar Azpilicueta — but could do little more than pass from side to side, seeing their efforts falter against a resolute Blues structure. Penalties, then, it would be to decide who wins the first trophy of the 2016/17 season. All eyes on Thibault Courtois and Petr Cech.

The first to take a penalty was Gary Cahill. With a long run up, Cahill smashed a shot to the right, sending Cech the wrong way. Next was Theo Walcott, who slotted the shot into the top right corner. Next was Nacho Monreal, because of the new ABBA format that has been implemented for the first time, who also sent Courtois the wrong way. And then, in a rather unusual manner, Courtois stepped up, leaning back, letting fly, seeing the shot balloon over the crossbar. And then, in a double-whammy, Alvaro Morata dragged his penalty wide. Arsenal, the penalty masters, apparently, then wrapped up proceedings. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slotted his penalty into the bottom corner before Olivier Giroud hammered home the winner.

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It is a significant win for Arsenal. They are unbeaten at Wembley since the League Cup final loss to Birmingham City in 2011 and now enter the season buoyed by a promising performance and result.