Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview

London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea face off at Wembley
Arsenal and Chelsea resume their rivalry at Wembley Stadium on Sunday in the Community Shield.
Community Shield | Sunday 6 August | Wembley Stadium | 14:00

London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea will compete for the first silverware of the season when they meet in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

The Gunners denied the Blues a domestic double in May as they prevailed 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley, but Antonio Conte’s side did earn some consolation with a 3-0 friendly win in Beijing two weeks ago. 

These sides also met in the 2015/2016 Community Shield which Arsenal won 1-0 thanks to an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal. 

Chelsea have won nine of the last 15 meetings against Arsene Wenger’s side, losing three times.

To Win (90 mins)
Arsenal 9/4
Draw 49/20
Chelsea 11/10

To Lift Cup
Arsenal 11/10
Chelsea 13/20

Arsenal

Arsenal began their preparations for the new season in Australia with comfortable wins over Sydney (0-2) and Western Sydney Wanderers (1-3). The Gunners then travelled to China and managed a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich – and won 3-2 on penalties – before a crushing 3-0 defeat against Chelsea. Wenger’s side returned to north London to host the annual pre-season Emirates Cup, which they claimed by virtue of goals scored. The Gunners thumped Benfica 5-2 on Saturday, before losing 2-1 to Sevilla on Sunday. 

Wenger will demand to see an improved performance against Chelsea, far better than he witnessed in Beijing two weeks ago. The Frenchman will stick to the 3-4-2-1 formation that worked so well towards the end of last season and beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final. 

Petr Cech will start in goal against his former club and he may have a busy afternoon, having to play behind a makeshift defence. Laurent Koscielny is suspended for the clash, while Shkodran Mustafi is not fully match fit. Gabriel Paulista is also ruled out with a knee injury. 

Captain Per Mertesacker will marshal the defence in the centre, with Nacho Monreal to his left and most likely Rob Holding on the right, although he only played once in pre-season.

In midfield, Aaron Ramsey will partner Granit Xhaka, while Chelsea target Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sead Kolasinac, who joined from Schalke on a free transfer, should occupy the wing-back positions.

Wantaway forward Alexis Sanchez is unlikely to feature as he hasn’t played in any of Arsenal’s pre-season friendlies after being given extra time off following his participation in the Confederations Cup. 

Sanchez is likely to be replaced by either Danny Welbeck or Alex Iwobi on the left side of attack, while Mesut Ozil will play on the right, although he’ll roam all over the pitch. The German maestro is instrumental to everything that the Gunners do. He has the ability to create something out of nothing and Chelsea cannot afford to allow him time and space on the ball. 

Alexandre Lacazette will spearhead the attack and look to fire the Gunners to victory. The Frenchman scored 37 goals in 45 games for Lyon last season. With Ozil creating, he should score loads of goals in the upcoming campaign and will be a threat to the Premier League champions on Sunday.



Chelsea

Chelsea got their pre-season schedule underway with an 8-2 battering of Championship side Fulham behind closed doors. That followed with an emphatic 3-0 win over Arsenal in China, but the Blues slumped to back-to-back defeats in Singapore against Bayern Munich (3-2) and Inter Milan (2-1). Conte would have been disappointed with those results, but he’ll be confident his side can bounce back against the Gunners, having beaten them two weeks ago. 

Conte is likely to go with his famous 3-4-3 formation that brought his side the Premier League title in his first season. Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois will start between the sticks with Willy Caballero acting as back-up keeper. 

David Luiz will be in the middle of a three-man defence with captain Gary Cahill on the left and Antonio Rudiger expected to play on the right. That will shift Cesar Azpilicueta to right wing-back with Victor Moses out through suspension, while Marcos Alonso will occupy the left wing-back position. 

With new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko not fully match-fit and Nemanja Matic now at Manchester United, Cesc Fabregas will play alongside last season's PFA Player of the Year, N'Golo Kante, in the centre of midfield. Kante will anchor the midfield, adding steel and grit to the side, while Fabregas will look to find that killer pass to split the defence.

Alvaro Morata might be forced to play out wide against Arsenal with Eden Hazard and Pedro both injured. Morata has played in that position before, but he is more dangerous when playing through the middle. However, the Spain international will still pose a major threat to Wenger’s side. Morata is deadly in front of goal – he scored 20 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid last season. 

I’m expecting Michy Batshuayi to lead the line up front, with Willian operating on the right side of attack. Batshuayi has been impressive in pre-season, scoring five goals in four matches – including a brace against Arsenal. The Belgium international is good in the air, holds the ball up well and also links up well with those around him. 

Probable line-ups:

Arsenal: 3-4-2-1
Cech; Holding, Mertesacker (c), Monreal; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Ozil, Welbeck; Lacazette.

Chelsea: 3-4-3
Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Azpilicueta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Morata.

Prediction: Chelsea Win & BTTS (26/10)
The absence of Koscielny and Sanchez will be a huge blow to Wenger’s side. We’re talking about two big players for Arsenal. It weakens both their defence and attack. I think the Gunners will still cause Chelsea problems and maybe even get on the scoresheet, but the Blues will prove too strong. They’ll want revenge after losing in the FA Cup final. I’m going for Chelsea to Win & Both Teams to Score at 26/10.

Written by Chad Nagel. Follow him on Twitter here!