MX23RW : Tuesday, October 23 03:51:12
Aug 6, 2017 at 2pm UK at ​Wembley
Attendance: 83,325
Moses (46')
Azpilicueta (13'), Alonso (35'), Willian (37')
Pedro (80')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Kolasinac (82')
Bellerin (15')
Arsenal win 4-1 on penalties

Preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Community Shield match between FA Cup holders Arsenal and Premier League champions Chelsea at Wembley.

Arsenal and Chelsea will do battle in the traditional curtain-raiser for the new Premier League season when they face off in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

The two teams also played each other in the final game of last season when Arsenal won the FA Cup, earning their place in this match to take on the Premier League champions.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the touchline during the match against Liverpool on March 4, 2017© SilverHub

For the first time since Arsene Wenger arrived at the club in 1996, Arsenal will go into a season without the prospect of Champions League football to look forward to this term.

The Gunners' fifth-place finish in the Premier League means that they will be playing in the Europa League during the upcoming campaign, and they will likely face another fierce battle for a top-four spot during what is expected to be an even more competitive season.

Following a year in which calls for him to step down reached unprecedented levels, Wenger will still be in charge for the new term having signed a two-year extension to his contract following their FA Cup success in May.

It is the contract of Alexis Sanchez which has taken centre stage since then and, despite Wenger's insistence that the 28-year-old will not be leaving the club this summer, the Chilean's future at the Emirates Stadium remains up in the air.

Sanchez is not alone in entering the final year of his contract, with Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla among the players to also be coming towards the end of their current deals, leaving Arsenal with a potential exodus on their hands next summer.

A return to the Champions League could be crucial in keeping some of those players, and Arsenal have broken their transfer record to sign Alexandre Lacazette in an attempt to fire them back into the top four this season.

Sead Kolasinac is the only other new face to have arrived this summer, though, and with the majority of the teams around them in the table having made more substantial changes to their squad, Arsenal fans will be hopeful of more business being done before the deadline.

Pre-season has been something of a mixed bag for the Gunners, with a penalty shootout victory over Bayern Munich and a 5-2 trouncing of Benfica being slightly tarnished by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in Beijing before losing to Sevilla in their final warm-up match.

Arsenal rather dubiously won the Emirates Cup for a fifth time despite that defeat to Sevilla, and this weekend gives them another chance to get their hands on silverware before the real work begins. The Gunners have won the Community Shield 14 times in the past, including two of the last three.

Above all, though, it will be one final run-out for the players to get up to speed before Arsenal kick off the new Premier League season at home to Leicester City next Friday, and with Liverpool and Chelsea (again) awaiting within their opening five games they cannot afford to make a slow start to the campaign.

Recent form: WWWLWL


Antonio Conte poses with the trophy during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Sunderland on May 21, 2017© SilverHub

Antonio Conte's debut season in English football could not have gone much better - the Premier League title, a record-breaking 30 victories and a new contract as a reward at the end of it.

It was a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal last September which really turned their campaign around, and the 3-4-3 system adopted by Conte to shore things up in that match has proved so successful that a lot of other teams - Arsenal included - have since copied it.

The Gunners were also responsible for ensuring that it wasn't an entirely perfect season for Chelsea, though, with their victory in May's FA Cup final ending Conte's hopes of securing a double in his first year in England.

The Italian will be all too aware of what happened last time Chelsea defended the Premier League title, and he has even said that he is keen to avoid the 'Jose Mourinho season' and fate of Claudio Ranieri, with the past two title-winning managers not surviving the following campaign.

The disastrous defence of 2015-16 began with defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield and was also preceded by a pre-season in which questions were raised over Chelsea's attitude and preparation. Such a drastic dip in form seems highly unlikely to happen again, but it has not all been rosy for the Blues since they lifted that Premier League trophy three months ago.

Chelsea have only played three summer friendlies and the last two of those have ended in defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, with the 3-0 triumph over Arsenal in Beijing their only taste of victory since the final day of the Premier League season.

Reports that Conte is unhappy with Chelsea's transfer business refuse to go away too, despite the Blues having spent almost £150m to bring Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata to the club.

Long-serving captain John Terry has left, while other first-team figures such as Asmir Begovic, Nathan Ake, Kurt Zouma and, most notably, Nemanja Matic have also been shipped out. The unwanted Diego Costa remains, though.

More additions may be needed if Chelsea are to enjoy similar domestic success while juggling the European commitments that they were not burdened with last season.

Chelsea will begin their Premier League title defence at home to Burnley next Saturday, but things do get tougher after that and they will play four of last season's top seven in their opening seven games - including a tasty tie against Tottenham Hotspur as last season's top two square off at Wembley on the second weekend.

It is a Wembley meeting with the other side from North London which will be Chelsea's more immediate concern, though, as they look to lift the Community Shield for just the fifth time and the first since 2009.

Recent form: WLL

Team News

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta clears from Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez during the FA Cup final on May 27, 2017© SilverHub

Wenger must decide whether to throw Sanchez straight into the starting lineup for this match after his extended summer break due to his involvement in the Confederations Cup was made even longer by illness.

The wantaway Chilean has been back in training this week, though, and could start having scored the opening goal in the FA Cup final against Chelsea in May.

Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are expected to be fit after ankle and muscular problems respectively, while summer signings Kolasinac and Lacazette are in line for their competitive debuts.

The Gunners will be without Francis Coquelin, though, and Shkodran Mustafi is a doubt having also featured in the Confederations Cup earlier this summer.

Chelsea will also be missing a number of key players as Eden Hazard continues his recovery from a broken ankle and Bakayoko has not recovered from a knee injury in time.

Pedro is also a doubt having suffering multiple fractures to his face in the pre-season meeting between these two sides, while Costa remains in exile and is not expected to be named in Chelsea's squad for the game.

Club-record signing Morata should start, although a mixture of injury problems and the pre-season form of Michy Batshuayi means that the Spaniard may be deployed in a wider role.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Batshuayi

Head To Head

These two sides met in a pre-season friendly just 15 days before this contest, with Chelsea running out 3-0 winners courtesy of goals from Willian and Batshuayi (2).

The Blues have had the edge in this fixture in recent years too, losing just seven of their last 34 competitive meetings across all competitions and winning 19 in that time.

However, it was Arsenal who claimed the bragging rights last season, winning two of their three meetings including victory in the FA Cup final. Another triumph at Wembley on Sunday would make it back-to-back wins over Chelsea for the first time since 2011.

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We say: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea

Arsenal tend to take these matches a little more seriously than Chelsea, and with the Premier League champions missing a number of key players it could further harm their chances. The Gunners were comfortably second best in pre-season, but they have a good recent record at Wembley and we are backing them to come away with a narrow victory.

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Who will win the 2017 Community Shield?

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil pictured together on November 27, 2016
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