Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea (4-1 on pen.): The Gunners lift the trophy as Courtois and Morata fail to keep Blues alive during shootout

Arsenal start season with a trophy

A calm first half was followed by an eventful period after the break in a game that ended up meeting the high expectations.

Arsenal will be ruing Alexandre Lacazette’s first-half post as they were forced to chase the result after Victor Moses put Chelsea up a minute after the second-half whistle. Sead Kolasinac scored his first competitive Arsenal goal leading the game into the penalty shootout.

Chelsea will be kicking themselves for allowing Courtois to take the shot, whereas the Premier League champions will also hope that new arrival Alvaro Morata will not be discouraged by his miss from the spot as Arsenal lift the trophy.

Form Guide & Team News

Current form will play little part in the Community Shield final given the fact that both Arsenal and Chelsea are heading into their first competitive match of the season. However, if preseason is anything to go by, the Gunners are boasting the better prep record of the two sides.

The Gunners played no less than six friendly matches this summer, winning four of those, whereas the Premier League have a worse record. They only beat Arsene Wenger’s men at the beginning of preseason, having lost to Bayern and Inter in succession.

Arsenal are expected to field their strongest line-up with both summer additions – Sead Kolasinac and club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette – whereas the game comes too early for Francis Coquelin, Gabriel and Jack Wilshere who miss out through injuries. Laurent Koscielny is allowed despite serving suspension, while there is a question mark over forward Alexis Sanchez who only returned to club on Tuesday after illness.

On the other side, Chelsea will be without Tiemoue Bakayoko and Eden Hazard who are ruled out through injury, whereas Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi should start up front instead of Diego Costa who is told he can leave the club. Victor Moses is available despite his ongoing suspension.

First Half

With only three shots on goal and no balls in the net, it wasn’t exactly a half of chance after chance in the first interval of the Community Shield final clash between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Arsenal were closest to going up in the first half but Alexandre Lacazette was unfortunate to have his wonderful inside-the-box effort rattle the right post after 23 minutes in game. The FA Cup showed they are no pushovers against reigning champions, who were left fearing for goal on a couple occasions. Blues keeper Courtois produced a wonderful save to deny Iwobi, who cleverly worked his way into the box in another notable moment in the first half.

The rest of the game produced no distinguished moments and resulted in more bookings than goal chances. Cesar Azplicueta was the first one to be shown yellow, whereas Marcos Alonso and Willian also go their names in the book.

On the other side, Hector Bellerin received a yellow for a bad challenge that left referee Robert Medley without a dilemma.

Second Half

An improvement came duly expected into the second half of the Community Shield final as Premier League champions hit the ground running straight after the second-half kickoff.

Gary Cahill headed a pass over to Victor Moses inside the box and Chelsea winger had no problems slotting the ball in to give Blues a lead and bring disappointment for the FA Cup winners who would have felt undone at the moment.

Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott were introduced for Arsenal as Wenger attempted to change the pace of the game after seeing his team go down, but no changes to the result were made until the closing stages of the match.

With ten minutes on the clock Antonio Conte’s team was left a man down as Pedro took his opponent with a harsh tackle which saw his get dismissed much to the disappointment of the Blues manager.

It was the breakthrough Arsenal needed to start pushing even harder to save the match. Which, ultimately, they did. Granit Xhaka enjoyed a great game on Sunday afternoon and it was exactly the Arsenal midfielder who produced a beautiful cross into the box where summer signing Sead Kolasinac met the ball and placed it precisely inside the right post.

The remaining eight minutes of the match saw Arsenal waste efforts to break through against the man-down Chelsea, but the eventful second half was ultimately ushered into the penalty shootout.

Penalties

The two teams kicked off the penalty shootout in the ‘ABBA’ method with Chlesea taking the first kick through Cahill, who did not disappoint. Arsenal’s Walcott and Monreal were both on the target, but Chelsea’s decision to allow Curtois to take the shot backfired.

Morata’s miss followed and that was the end of Chelsea’s hopes, with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud sealing the trophy for the Gunners.

Statistical Overview

  • The FA Cup Winners have won each of the last four Community Shields
  • This year’s final was the first repeat of the previous seasons FA Cup final since 2007
  • The FA Cup winners beat the same opponent in the Community Shield for the 1st time
  • Arsenal enjoyed 54% possession to Chelsea’s 46%
  • Arsenal and Chelsea fired 4 shots on goal each

ARSENAL: Cech 6 – Holding 6.5, Mertesacker 6 (Kolasinac 8), Monreal 6.5 – Bellerin 7, Elneny 6.5, Xhaka 7.5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6.5 – Iwobi 7 (Walcott 6.5), Welbeck (Nelson 6) – Lacazette 7 (Giroud 6)

Unused subs: Maitland-Niles, Ospina, Willock.

CHELSEA: Courtois 7.5 – Azpilicueta 6, Luiz 7, Cahill7 – Moses 7.5, Fabregas 6.5, Kante 7, Alonso 6.5 (Rudiger 6) – Willian 6.5 (Musonda 6), Pedro 5 – Batshuayi 6 (Morata 6).

Unused subs: Boga, Caballero, Christensen, Scott.

REFEREE: Robert Madley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines – most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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