Arsenal Optimist: We Must Protect the Shield


I love the Community Shield.

I realise the Shield does not count, that the club who wins often fails to win the league. I understand it is for charity and often the team that tries hardest is often not the better of the two. I get that the only drama is when Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho are on the sideline and they may or may not shake hands.

Despite all this, I love when Arsenal participates in this match. The primary reason is because if they are playing it usually means they won something last season. Some years it is because they finished first runner up but the match is still a prestige match. The previous season, Arsenal must have accomplished something ranging from pretty good to awesome.

I love how the match overrates certain players. It seems like every year Arsenal participates in the Community Shield one player shines and the media immediately identifies them as a breakout performer for the club. Two years ago it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who scored the only goal on a beautiful strike from distance. He has never quite lived up to the unreal expectations his performance in that match indicated he could but on that day he was the player who would win Arsenal the league that year.

I love the pageantry for a match that does not matter. This year the FA’s selected charitable cause is victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. After a commemoration of that sad event, the royalty, pomp and circumstance before and after the match make this more special than the normal Premier League match.

I love that the match takes place at Wembley. A club like Arsenal should aim to play at Wembley at least once a season (excluding the “away” trip to Spurs) and this match is almost a preview of a match to come. That plus matches at Wembley on television are always fun to watch; the national stadium presents well on television (maybe not as much in person).

I want to see an ABBA penalty shootout. The FA have confirmed that the new penalty format, where the team going first on penalties in the first round go second in the second, will be in place in this match in advance of being implemented in the league next season. For once, I hope an Arsenal match goes into penalties.

I am looking forward to this match simply because the Community Shield means the season is here. Yes it has only been a few months since the season ended, but on Sunday the Premier League 2017-2018 season will officially kick off. And as poorly as last season went (besides an FA Cup), I cannot wait to begin again with Arsenal.