Arsenal pip Chelsea to win Community Shield

Arsenal won the first trophy of the 2017-18 season against Chelsea through spot kicks after an entertaining and controversial Community Shield clash in the sunshine at Wembley.

Victor Moses, the villain of the Blues’ failed Double bid in May, scored the game’s opener moments after half-time to secure a Wembley win for the reigning champions but summer signing, Sead Kolasinac, struck on 82 minutes as Arsenal made the most of Pedro’s red card.


Arsene Wenger had left out a quartet of his finest players, including Laurent Koscielny, who is banned for the next two Premier League matches. Chelsea similarly started without summer signings Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata, both of whom were among the substitutes.


Arsenal, who had returned from their pre-season odyssey a week earlier than the Premier League champions, were notably faster out of the blocks at Wembley, with Danny Welbeck probing in the space between Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses on the Chelsea right.

Twice in the space of a minute the Gunners prospered down the left. First Alex Iwobi ghosted to the byline, his cutback parried by Thibaut Courtois. Alexandre Lacazette was lurking but could do nothing to deflect the ball which was aiming at goal.


Soon after Xhaka’s flick into the box gave an unmarked Welbeck the chance to head into Courtois’ arms. Chelsea’s right flank was creaking and it was no surprise when Azpilicueta was brought down for hauling the former Manchester United forward down.


Arsenal’s pressure reached a crescendo on 22 minutes when a counter from one end to the other ended with £52million man Alexandre Lacazette curling a fine shot around Gary Cahill and against Courtois’ left post.


Just as Arsenal’s momentum seemed irresistible they were handed a setback as a bloodied Per Mertesacker, who just as in May’s FA Cup Final had marshalled Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal with distinction, exited after an elbow from Cahill.


Left back Sead Kolasinac slotted into an increasingly uncomfortable back three but Chelsea’s pressure grew, with Pedro’s powerful drive on the break parried by Petr Cech.


A heavy touch from Hector Bellerin then gave Chelsea another chance in the area, Willian bursting beyond the Spaniard before going down. First impressions appeared to suggest Bobby Madley had been right to show a yellow to the forward but every replay seemed to offer further evidence that a trailing leg had caused the fall.

Willian’s booking brought to mind Moses’ red 71 days ago for a similar incident.

But soon into the second half the Nigerian international earned if not redemption then at least a degree of clemency as the Arsenal defence played him onside from a cleared corner. Gary Cahill looped a header back into the area and Moses was on hand to volley home.


Without Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey Arsenal struggled to create the chances needed to bring them level, with Wenger throwing on Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott in place of Iwobi and a tiring Lacazette. Soon after Conte responded by turning to record signing Alvaro Morata, but none of them could liven up a tepid affair.


However a red card for Pedro’s raking challenge along Elneny’s Achilles on 82 minutes opened the door for Arsenal. They were level from the resulting free-kick, clipped in from Xhaka onto the head of the giant Kolasinac, and then won on penalties.


Though Walcott and Morata went close at both ends the game was inexorably bound for penalties, where the new ABBA format made its debut.

But running orders mattered for little as Courtois skied over and Morata fired wide. Meanwhile Walcott, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud all found the net for Arsenal as they ensured a second Wembley win over their London rivals in little over two months.



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