Hold on, wait up a second! Did anyone else notice Alexis Sanchez shaking every member of the Arsenal player after the Community Shield game ended on penalties with the Gunners coming out on top of their local rivals Chelsea? Sanchez who is touted to move away from the Gunners this summer played no part in the victory – with Arsene saying he’s not match fit. I certainly hope it was just a congratulatory handshake and nothing short of that.
In a sunny Sunday afternoon in London, Arsenal and Chelsea teamed up against one another in the Community Shield, as the 2017-2018 season kicks off in a couple of days. Both teams missing a couple of key players as they both lined up in the 3-4-3 formation. Arsenal fielded Petr Cech, Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny, Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and new boy Alexandre Lacazette, while Chelsea fielded a really strong side in Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso, Pedro, Willian and Michy Batshuayi.
The match got off to a good start, as the Gunners started brightly, imposing threats and looking sharp against their opponent. Welbeck would go on and catch Azpilicueta unawares in the 13th minute as the Englishman stole the ball from the napping Spaniard, creating a real counter attacking threat with Lacazette finding space for himself but would see the attack fall short as the Spaniard held the shirt of Welbeck and was shown a yellow card afterwards.
Alex Iwobi could’ve opened the scoring for the Gunners, bursting from midfield with the ball and finding the Ox who fed him back but was covered by Fabregas and Azpilicueta, somehow brilliantly finding space for himself, taking a shot straight at Courtois.New signing Lacazette also came close to giving the Gunners the lead but was denied by the woodwork, curling one that
New signing Lacazette also came close to giving the Gunners the lead but was denied by the woodwork, curling one, that well beat Courtois. Unlucky Laca!
Pedro was sharp for the champions as he forced a good save from Petr Cech, longing with pace on the flanks, skipping past an Arsenal player and had Rob Holding in front of him to beat but took a nice shot that brought out a nice save from the Czech international.
Mertesacker was left bloodied by Cahill when the Englishman unintentionally elbowed the German in an attempt to head the ball in the Arsenal penalty box. Mertesacker would be replaced by power-horse Sead Kolasinac in the 33rd minute, who was making his debut in English football, just like Lacazette.
Chelsea would eventually take the lead immediately after the second half began, in the 46th minute when Victor Moses, who was guilty of letting down the League champions in the FA cup final pounced on a Gary Cahill header and poking the ball past Petr Cech who could barely do much about it.
Granit Xhaka was superb for us in this match, dictating play and controlling the midfield like a boss in the absence on Ozil and Cazorla. He forced Courtois to make a remarkable save from long range as his shot almost found the top corner of the Belgians net.
Somethings never change as there was a red card shown to Pedro for his tackle on Elneny. He was shown his second yellow card of the match thus leading to a red as the champions had to finish the match with a man less and 10 minutes left on the clock.
Gunners would immediately find their breakthrough as soon as Pedro took his marching orders, Xhaka played in a nice deliverable free kick and debut boy Kolasinac rose highest to head home the equaliser in the 82nd minute. He was excited about this and the expression was there to see on his face.
With the match ending one all at the regular time, the winner had to be decided on penalties. Early this year, Marco Van Basten who is now associated with Uefa was talking about a new system change in which penalty shootout should follow and we saw the new system unfold before our very eyes. A-B-B-A not the Swedish musical group but the new penalty system follows this format. The home team takes the first and the away team takes two straight after and then the home team takes their second.
Cahill stepped up first for Chelsea and scored a neat penalty, likewise Walcott and Monreal. It was a devastating moment for Courtois as he skyrocketed his, with Chelsea’s record signing Alvaro Morata missing his afterwards. Chamberlain scored his which was nicely placed and Giroud rounded it off for the Gunners, making it 4-1 on penalties and winning the Community Shield.