Understrength Arsenal surprise disappointing Chelsea at Wembley

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal this afternoon put fierce London rivals Chelsea to the sword in the Community Shield, with the Emirates outfit emerging with a penalty shootout victory following a 1-1 full-time scoreline.

Showdown

The annual match played out between the winners of last season’s Premier League and FA Cup titles kicked off from Wembley this afternoon, with the first silverware of the English season up for grabs.

Lineups

Both sides headed into the game with injury concerns, particularly Arsene Wenger’s outfit.

The Gunners were without the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel.

This left Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding as the only recognised central defenders available for the Gunners.

Chelsea, on the other hand, were without star man Eden Hazard, while Diego Costa missed out due to his imminent departure from the club.

Blues lead

Following an exciting opening 45 minutes which saw Arsenal surprisingly take the initiative and control the majority of proceedings, the sides headed into half-time deadlocked at 0-0.

However, the opening of the second half was a different story altogether, with Chelsea immediately looking re-energised and dominant.

This dominance didn’t take long to pay off, either, with Antonio Conte’s men opening the scoring less than a minute after the restart.

Following a corner, a poor clearance from the Gunners saw the ball headed back in behind their backline, with Victor Moses quickest to react as he pounced to smash home past the helpless Petr Cech.

Comeback

However, following a back and forth second half which saw Arsenal once again with the better of proceedings, a surprise red card handed to Chelsea winger Pedro proved extremely costly for the Blues.

The ensuing free-kick following the Spaniard’s foul saw new Gunners signing Sead Kolasinac nod home Granit Xhaka’s precise free-kick on his competitive debut for the club after 82 minutes.

Penalties

A tense final 10 minutes ensued, with proceedings eventually heading to penalties.

Gary Cahill coolly slotted the first for Chelsea, before Theo Walcott did likewise for Arsenal.

The new ABBA penalty system came into play, with Nacho Monreal scoring next for the Gunners.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois then smashed over for the Blues, before new signing Alvaro Morata pulled his spot-kick wide.

A perfectly placed strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ensued, before Olivier Giroud sealed a brilliant result for an understrength and unfavoured Arsenal side.


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