Arsenal overcame London rivals Chelsea for the 2nd time in 3 months as the Gunners came from behind to win on penalties to claim the FA Community Shield. Though the achievement means little for both the sides, the rivalry was clearly visible in the rash tackles and the "hot" nature of the game.
Chelsea got the lead one minute into the second half, as a careless marking by Arsenal’s centre half Rob Holding saw full-back Victor Moses slot the ball home following a failed clearance. Arsenal took until the 82 minute of the game to get the equalizer as new recruit Sead Kolasinac headed the ball past Thibaut Courtois, from another defensive blunder.
This was the first time that England had a trial of the ABBA system during the penalties, where the side taking the spot kick second will get two successive chances to cancel opponent’s first attempt. Following Gary Cahill’s successful spot kick, Arsenal took the lead through Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal.
Chelsea saw two misses from goalkeeper Courtois and big money signing Alvaro Morata and Arsenal wasted no chance to clinch the victory as Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain converted their penalties.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, “We want to find a balance between the confidence we can get out of this game and the urgency every Premier League game demands. We had some bad starts recently but we have had intensity in our preparation, so let’s go into the Premier League with the same discipline, the same spirit and see where we can go.”
The match on Sunday was the perfect opportunity for the Premier League defending champions Chelsea to avenge their 2-1 loss to Arsenal last May in the FA Cup final. And the aggressive nature of the game reflected every intent of both the teams. The game saw four yellow cards and one red card as Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker left the field with a broken nose and Chelsea’s Pedro was sent off.
One such controversial moment was Willian’s dive in Arsenal’s penalty box that saw the Brazilian international He was booked early in the game for it and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte expressed his disappointment after the game. He said, “A lot of people told me penalty was clear.”
Bale attempted 2.6 shots per game this SLL, while Benzema has attempted 2 shots.
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