Conmmunity Shield preview Arsenal v Chelsea
Conmmunity Shield preview Arsenal v Chelsea
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will decide whether Alexis Sanchez plays in Sunday’s Community Shield final against Chelsea at Wembley.
Forward Sanchez returned to training on Tuesday after illness, having taken an extended break after his participation in the Confederations Cup with Chile.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa will not start, after being told he can leave by boss Antonio Conte.
The game is to soon for forward Eden Hazard and midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Blues boss Antonio Conte expects the pair to also miss next week’s Premier League opener against Burnley as they look to gain match fitness.
Hazard had ankle surgery over the summer and Bakayako, a £40m summer signing from Monaco, had a knee operation.
Strikers Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi could start together, while Pedro could play wearing a mask to protect a facial injury.
Gunners centre-half Laurent Koscielny and Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses are both allowed to play, despite serving suspensions.
Arsenal’s club-record £46.5m signing Alexandre Lacazette and new defensive arrival Sead Kolasinac are in line to feature, but Francis Coquelin (ankle), Gabriel (knee) and Jack Wilshere (leg) will miss out because of injury.
Sanchez, 28, is entering the final year of his deal at Emirates Stadium and, amid reported interest from other clubs, Wenger has said: “He will stay and he will respect that.”
He could be left out of the squad on Sunday though, after a truncated pre-season, as could Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi, who also featured in the Confederations Cup.
The traditional season curtain-raiser is a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final, in which Arsenal beat Premier League champions Chelsea 2-1.
What the managers say
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: “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: “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.”
- The Community Shield will be a repeat of the previous season’s FA Cup final for the first time since 2007, when Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties having lost to them 1-0 after extra-time in the cup final three months earlier
- 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. The cup holders had been victorious in only one of the seven Community Shields prior to this run (Chelsea in 2009)
- This will be the third Community Shield between Chelsea and Arsenal – with the Blues winning in 2005 and the Gunners in 2015
- Only Manchester United (nine) have been Community Shield runners-up more times than Chelsea and Arsenal (both seven)
- Arsenal v Chelsea will equal Chelsea v Tottenham and Chelsea v Manchester United (both four) as the most played fixture at the new Wembley Stadium
- The last Community Shield winners to go on to win the Premier League in the same season were Manchester United in 2010
- This will be Chelsea’s 12th Community Shield appearance. Only Manchester United (30), Arsenal (22, including 2017) and Liverpool (21) have made more (Manchester United have played 31 Community Shield matches as the 1908 edition went to a replay)
- Chelsea have won the Community Shield four times (all outright) – 1955, 2000, 2005 and 2009. Their victories in 1955 and 2005 came as league champions.
- Chelsea have lost their last three Community Shield matches – in 2010 against Manchester United, in 2012 versus Manchester City and in 2015 against Arsenal
- This will be Chelsea’s 17th match at Wembley Stadium since it reopened in 2007, an outright record for a club (Manchester United are next, with 16 appearances). They have been victorious in 10 of their 16 appearances at the stadium since it was rebuilt (including one penalty shootout triumph)
- Only Manchester United (21, 17 outright and four shared) and Liverpool (15, 10 outright and five shared) have won the Community Shield more times than Arsenal (14 – 13 outright and one shared)
- Arsenal lost their first two matches at the new Wembley Stadium, but have been victorious on all eight visits since (including one penalty shootout triumph)
- Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla are the only current members of the Arsenal squad to play in both their Community Shield wins in 2014 and 2015
- Alexis Sanchez has won all six of his matches at Wembley Stadium for Arsenal and Chile, scoring seven goals. He has failed to score in only one of those games – the 3-0 victory against Manchester City in the 2014 Community Shield.