Sunday, 6 August 2017

Arsenal v Chelsea: Community Shield Preview

It's not quite the return of real football today, but a game between the Premier League champions and the FA Cup Winners is probably the next best thing. Keeping that in mind this is still more or less a pre season friendly and it certainly doesn't count as a trophy despite some United fans considering it as the first leg of their "treble" last season. It's always nice to win a game and lift a trophy at Wembley, but it will count for nothing come next Friday night when the real thing gets going.

We've done well in the Community Shield in recent seasons having won it in 2014 against City and 2015 against today's opponents Chelsea. Despite all the hype of beating Chelsea a couple of seasons ago and putting the Mourinho hoodoo to bed we still started our league campaign badly with a 2-0 loss at home to West Ham. As much as I would love Arsenal to win today, I won't be too bothered by the result as long as we reach next Friday night fit and ready to go and get the three points against Leicester.

Arsene Wenger has almost a full strength squad to choose from with the exceptions of Santi Cazorla, Gabriel Paulista and Francis Coquelin. Alexis Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi are only just back to pre season training after their international duties this summer and they probably won't be playing from the start. With Alexis's natural fitness and desire to play football every minute of every day I would certainly expect to see him at some stage and it wouldn't even surprise me if he did start.

The summer has been full of rumours and conjecture about his future, but Arsenal have held firm and it really does look like he is going nowhere. It might mean we lose him for nothing next summer which will be a big blow when it comes, but I think it will be worth it when the other options are considered. There's still a chance we will get him to sign a new contract and maybe stick in a clause which will allow him to leave next summer if he chooses I suppose.

As for today the team won't be too different from the one to play Leicester I imagine with the obvious exception of Laurent Koscielny who will be suspended for that game. I imagine we will see both Alexander Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac in the team and we will go with three central defenders too. I have a feeling Nacho Monreal is going to get a lot more game time on the left of that trio with Kolasinac playing the wing back role this season.

Chelsea have splashed a fair bit of cash this summer and Antonio Conte seems determined to put his own stamp on the team despite delivering the league title in his first season in charge last May. They have to be one of the favourites to win it again this season and their chances certainly look a lot better than Arsenal's at the moment. We still need to add at least two more players before the transfer window ends if we're going to have any real chance of competing for the title this season and time is slowly clicking towards the shutting of the transfer window.

I expect we'll see a pretty good game today with both teams almost there in terms of fitness for the new season. I have no doubt Chelsea would like some revenge for us beating them in the cup final and preventing them from doing the double, but our record at Wembley in recent seasons is very good. I'd take the defeat if it happens today without much bother if we can keep that Wembley form for our league game against Spurs later this season. 

hope to see our new players fitting in well today and the team shaping up nicely for Friday night against Leicester. A win would be nice, but as I said already it counts for little in the scheme of real football and proper trophies. 

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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