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PREVIEW: ARSENAL VS CHELSEA – THE FA COMMUNITY SHIELD

PREVIEW: ARSENAL VS CHELSEA – THE FA COMMUNITY SHIELD

Two London Rivals go head to head in the season’s curtain raiser as League winners Chelsea take on FA Cup Winners Arsenal at the famous Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Antonio Conte’s side will want to win and add another trophy to the cabinet. The Blues had an impressive season winning the league, as Conte became the fourth manager to win the League in his first season in Premier League history.

Arsenal will be determined to hit the ground running by winning the trophy after having a poor season in which they finished in fifth place – outside the Champions League place for the first time in 20 years under manager Arsene Wenger.

Looking in the history of this Cup, Arsenal has won it 14 times whilst the Blues have won it four times. The last time Arsenal lifted the trophy was in 2015, beating Chelsea 1-0 thanks to a well-taken goal by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Looking at respective records of the two in this competition since 2002, when it was changed to the FA Community Shield, Arsenal record is impressive having played six times and winning four drawing one and a loss. Chelsea’s, on the other hand, is rather shambolic, as they won once, lost four and drawn twice in seven games.

As far as team news are concerned for both sides, no other serious injuries have been reported outside Eden Hazard, Pedro and Tiemoue Bakayoko for Chelsea, and Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey for The Gunners, while Alexis Sanchez remains a doubt. Some of the new signings are likely to get a punt or two in this exciting derby. Chelsea will look to play new signee Alvaro Morata, whose form has been rather indifferent in preseason, after a blockbuster move from Real Madrid. Want-away striker Diego Costa, however, won’t be available after Conte told him that he won’t be part of his plans going forward.

Arsenal are likely to hand new signings Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac more minutes as they look to find their rhythm in Wenger’s side. Lacazette signed from Lyon in a deal worth 52.7m and Arsenal fans may feel a deep sense of relief, as they’ve finally got a number 9 that can score goals. Kolasinac will provide much needed competition for Nacho Monreal in defence. The futures of three key players in Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain still remain uncertain. The trio is heavily linked with moves away from the Emirates.

 

Author: Takalani Lufhugu

 

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