Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Arsenal beat Chelsea, win Community Shield

Published:Monday | August 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Arsenal players pose with the trophy after winning the English Community Shield football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, yesterday. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)


Arsenal will start the English Premier League (EPL) season on a high note after mastering the experimental ABBA penalty shootout pattern to beat Chelsea to the Community Shield.

Wembley Stadium provided the biggest stage yet for global trials with the format that mixes up the order of penalties rather than spotkicks alternating between teams A and B.

The long-standing system was deemed by football's lawmaking body to be handing an unfair advantage to the team going first. And going second in the rejigged shootout, Arsenal overwhelmed Chelsea 4-1 to win the traditional curtain raiser to the English season after the match was locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

"We showed great composure to come back to the game," Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech said, "then it is penalties and who keeps their cool better."

Only six penalties were required between Premier League champion Chelsea and FA Cup holder Arsenal.

Gary Cahill got Chelsea off to a perfect start before Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal responded by finding the target for Arsenal. But Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois blazed his kick over the crossbar followed by striker Alvaro Morata also missing.

Arsenal duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud then converted their kicks in succession to ensure the north London club started the new season just as it finished the last one by beating Chelsea at Wembley.


Made amends


Just like in the FA Cup final, Chelsea was reduced to 10 men.

Victor Moses, who was sent off in the May showpiece, made amends this time by putting Chelsea in front a minute into the second half by getting on the end of Cahill's header.

"Even though we were 1-0 down we didn't panic and kept control of our game and came back," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.

Arsenal gained a man advantage with 10 minutes to go when Pedro Rodriguez, wearing a mask after being injured on Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia, was dismissed for a studs-up sliding challenge on Mohamed Elneny.

It proved even costlier when the resulting free kick by Granit Xhaka was headed in by new defensive signing Sead Kolasinac, sending the game into the shootout.

"Physically he is naturally very strong," Wenger said of Kolasinac, who was a free recruit after being out of contract at Schalke. "We have players pumped up in the gym and players who were born strong. And he was the second part."