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The English Community Shield Preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

In what will be a repeat of the 2015 edition, which the Gunners won 1-0, the first trophy in England will be up for grabs when two London-based giants, Arsenal and Chelsea, meet tomorrow.

It might not be as prestigious as the Premier League title, nor the FA cup, but it is an opportunity to unveil strength and capacity, with the intent to pursue a successful season campaign.

When the two teams met last season, Arsene Wenger walked away with a 3-0 win, but the defeat was more of a blessing in disguise for the Blues. It prompted Chelsea’s Antonio Conte to revert to his preferred 3-4-3 formation that turned the team’s season around.

After the change, an impressive 13 consecutive league wins made the formation popular in England, prompting most managers including Arsene Wenger, to revert to the formation when facing tricky opponents.

In the return Leg at the Stamford Bridge, with a new formation and a team that looked unstoppable, Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-1, but the Gunners had other plans in the FA Cup Final. With both teams using three at the back, goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey saw the Gunners sneak away with a hard earned 2-1 win.

What the Managers are saying.

Arsene Wenger.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“For us, it is an opportunity to repeat the performance from the FA Cup Final,”[/perfectpullquote]

Wenger said.

“I would say that Chelsea have kept the basis of 95% of their squad, they have added Bakayoka who is a very strong player, strong ball winner, similar to Matic, maybe less a distant runner but more of an impact player- but certainly they will fight for the championship again”

“They have replaced Diego Costa with Morata. Morata is maybe less of a goal scorer than Costa but he can score and provide as well,” He added.

Antonio Conte.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It was a pity to lose to the FA Cup Final against Arsenal after a really great season for us. Now there’s another game. We know well Arsenal are a strong team but want to start the season with a win, I hope to see a good game from the players and for the people.[/perfectpullquote]

“This is the first trophy of the season. It’s an important game. We want to play a good game with good intensity.

“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”

Team News.

In team news, according to Wenger, Arsenal will have “basically everyone available to choose from”. He also confirmed Aaron Ramsey had a “slight muscular problem”, Mesut Ozil, a “little ankle problem” but both would feature.

Arsenal will, however, be without Francis Coquelin (ankle), Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi (rest), Jack Wilshere (leg) while Santi Cazorla (leg) remains out of action for the foreseeable future.

They will stick to the 3-4-3 formation meaning their options are limited to Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, and Rob Holding.

For Chelsea, playmaker Eden Hazard remains sidelined with an ankle injury and isn’t expected to feature up-to next month, while new signing Bakayoko is out with a knee injury and won’t make his debut today with Pedro still a doubt after suffering a fractured cheek bone.

Since the match is considered a friendly, no players are suspended due to disciplinary action, meaning Arsenal can call on Koscielny amidst a defensive crisis and Chelsea can call on suspended winger, Victor Moses.

This will be the first repeat of the FA Cup final since 2007 when Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties. FA Cup winners have never beaten the same opponents in the following Community shield despite taking the previous three shields.

It will be the third time the sides are meeting in the Community Shield with each winning a piece. The match will kick-off on Sunday afternoon before the Women’s European Championships that will close the day.

The Odds.

Arsenal to Win 9/4

Chelsea to win 6/5

Draw 5/2



Featured Photo: Official Logo

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