CHELSEA v ARSENAL
By Calum Chinchen
It’s that time of the year again. The Community Shield is the curtain-raiser for the Premier League season and it takes place this Sunday (3pm) at Wembley Stadium.
Premier League Champions Chelsea take on their fierce local rivals and FA Cup winners Arsenal, who are also the defending champions after demolishing Manchester City in last year’s showpiece.
Prior to 2004, Arsenal had the upper hand over their West London counterparts. The arrival of Roman Abramovich’s billions have most definitely changed that and allowed Chelsea to be dominant over The Gunners in recent years. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has never managed to gain a victory over a Jose Mourinho-managed Chelsea and the Gunners have not beaten the Blues in a competitive fixture since 2012.
Chelsea (Odds: 2.48) are coming off a fantastic Premier League campaign, where their defensive solidarity allowed them to romp to the title with a few games to spare. Mourinho is a tactician of the highest quality and often tends to favour not losing over going all-out for the win, particularly against the bigger sides in the league, and we expect Sunday afternoon to be no different.
The Champions have added Radamel Falcao to their ranks this year. Some may have raised eyebrows after his unsuccessful loan spell at Manchester United last season.
However, there is no doubting that the Columbian is a natural predator, who can provide both competition and support to Diego Costa once he manages to settle in England.
Arsenal (2.88) really look as though they are going to contend for major honours this season. After years of battling with a lack of finance (due to stadium repayments) they are now able to compete in the transfer market.
They spent big money when adding Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to their squad in the last two summer transfer windows, and have signed world-class goalkeeper Petr Cech from their opponents this summer – something that many Chelsea fans are far from happy about.
Cech appears to be the missing link in the Arsenal puzzle, with predecessors Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina costing the side numerous points last year.
Prior to their last campaign, Arsenal had a wretched recent record against the so-called big boys.
However, last season they had impressive victories against Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as battling for draws against Manchester City and Chelsea.
We consider these two to be in direct competition for the Premier League title next year.
The two Manchester sides will, of course, provide stiff competition, but we will not be surprised if these two occupy first and second place next season.
There is no doubt that Sunday’s game will highlight a clash in styles. We expect Arsenal to have the majority of the ball and possession, while the organised West Londoners will soak up attacks with their remarkably strong defensive unit.
Although it may not please some, we think the game will be a tactical battle and may lack any sort of excitement. The last four meetings between the two have only contained a total of eight goals, with one of those games alone containing six.
We just can’t see anything changing on Sunday and fully expect to see extra time and penalties being played.
Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.
You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsibly www.gambleaware.co.uk