On August second, Premier League champions Chelsea take on FA Cup winners Arsenal for the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium. The annual curtain raiser is always treated as more of a friendly than a hotly contested match, but an Arsenal Chelsea match is always hard fought. The two sides will want to get off on a good start, and neither manager will want the other to get one over on the other. Everyone knows how much Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho dislike each other. With the footballing philosophies of the two at opposite ends of the spectrum, it’s no surprise the two dislike each other. The gunners are the current holders of the Community Shield after beating Manchester City in last seasons edition 3-0.
Both teams have been able to stay relatively injury free during preseason, meaning we could see two quite strong squads.
Arsenal though, will be without their reigning player of the season Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean will be on his extended holiday after going so far in the Copa America. They’ll also be without Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky. The pair are struggling with knee injuries and Arsene Wenger has already ruled them out.
Chelsea have been given a fitness boost for this one. Despite both going out with injury during the last preseason game, Diego Costa and G
Arsenal have not scored against Chelsea in their last 482 minutes of competitive play. The gunners have not beat their West London rivals since the 5-3 game from October 2011. The last time the two met in the Community Shield was in 2006 at the Millennium Stadium, where Chelsea came out 2-1 winners. Arsene Wenger has never beat a Jose Mourinho team in competitive play.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
Arsenal’s record signing will have to be their main man if they are to beat Chelsea. As stated above, Arsenal have not scored a goal against Chelsea in the 482 minutes. They’ll need their German magician to be in mid season form if they are to unlock the vault that is the Chelsea defense. Luckily, if there is one person capable of doing this, it’s Ozil. He led the league in chances created per 90 minutes last season, and was one of the main reasons Arsenal went on their incredible run at the end of last season. His ability to unlock defenses will be crucial for the gunners all season, and that starts on Sunday.
Chelsea: Eden Hazard
Chelsea have lots of star power in their squad, from Diego Costa, to Cesc Fabregas, to John Terry, but there isn’t a bigger star at Stamford Bridge than Eden Hazard. The reigning Premier League player of the year is Chelsea’s most important player week in week out. For all that Cesc Fabregas brings to the Chelsea team in terms of goals and assists, Chelsea’s Belgian superstar is the reason they’re as good as they are. He is vital to everything they do going forward, and this match will be no different. He’s got bags of talent and, according to his manager, is the second best player in the world. While that may be a bit of a stretch, Hazard is a special player and one that Chelsea will need to thrive if they are to defend their Premier League title.
These matches are always very tough to predict because no one knows how fit each team will be, and no one knows what teams the managers will play. One thing we do know is that Arsenal will be missing Alexis Sanchez, which will be a big blow to the gunners hopes. His absence is a big reason why I’m picking Chelsea to come out on top here. Mourinho has Wenger’s number, and with Arsenal missing their best player, it’s tough to see that changing. I’ll go for Chelsea to grind out a win in a tight game.
Prediction: 2-1 Chelsea