London Rivalry Rekindled as Chelsea Face Arsenal in Community Shield


Kick-off: 2pm

Arsenal and Chelsea resume their London rivalry at Wembley today as the FA Cup winners and Premier League champions battle for more silverware in the Community Shield.

In a repeat of the 2015 edition, which the Gunners won 1-0, both teams get a chance for an early victory ahead of this weekend, when the Premier League kicks off.

When these teams first met in the league last season the Gunners ran out 3-0 winners, but that defeat proved to be the catalyst for the Blues, as it prompted Antonio Conte to change to his preferred 3-4-3 formation. What followed was a 13-match winning streak.

When Arsenal travelled to Stamford Bridge for the return match they were beaten 3-1, but they were victorious at Wembley when the two teams met in the FA Cup final, where goals from Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez helped them to a 2-1 win.

The two capital clubs have played each other since then – a pre-season friendly which Chelsea won 3-0 in China – but the Community Shield will be a real test of both sides with the 2017-18 season fast approaching.
While today’s match may be a charity friendly, Wenger and Conte will expect their teams to give their all as they look to begin the new campaign with full bragging rights.

Wenger has a decision to make on whether to involve Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean was handed an extended summer break following the Confederations Cup and only returned to training on Tuesday after suffering from illness meaning both he and Shkodran Mustafi, who also played in the tournament, could be left on the sidelines.

Club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette and fellow new recruit Sead Kolasinac are in line to feature but, while Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are expected to be fit after minor niggles, Francis Coquelin (ankle), Gabriel (knee) and Jack Wilshere (leg) miss out.

Diego Costa’s continued exile and Eden Hazard’s broken ankle mean Chelsea will have a new-look strike-force.
Strikers Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi could be deployed together, while Pedro could play with a protective mask following the facial injury sustained in the Beijing friendly against the Gunners.

Tiemoue Bakayoko, the midfielder signed from Monaco this summer, has a knee injury, but Victor Moses is free to play despite his dismissal in May’s FA Cup final. His ban applies in the Premier League season opener against Burnley.