Arsenal Win Community Shield Over Chelsea

FA Cup winners Arsenal beat Premier League champions Chelsea to win the Community Shield on penalties after Thibaut Courtois and Alvaro Morata missed spot-kicks in a shootout at Wembley. An English football first followed as the ABBA penalty shootout was deployed and Arsenal prevailed 4-1 to extend their winning record at Wembley to nine straight games, including two in penalty shootouts. The ABBA system is based on the format used in tennis tie-breaks, with the team taking the first kick in each pair of kicks alternating. Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois took the second kick of the shootout, seeking to equalise, and blasted over before Morata fired wide.

That gave Arsenal the initiative and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored before Olivier Giroud netted the decisive penalty. Arsenal celebrated and Chelsea looked on, just as they had done in May when the Gunners beat them in the FA Cup final but it had been an even contest after 90 minutes. Victor Moses’ strike soon into the second half was cancelled out by Sead Kolasinac’s header eight minutes from time. Both benefited from defensive lapses. The Gunners’ equaliser came moments after Pedro was sent off for a tackle from behind on Mohamed Elneny and was no less than Arsenal deserved after Alexandre Lacazette hit the post in the first half. Arsenal’s record signing Lacazette was the only new signing in the starting line-ups, with focus on those absent as much as those playing.

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez was present as a spectator, as was Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, but Diego Costa, for three campaigns Arsenal’s tormentor-in-chief in this fixture, remains in exile. Conte’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation during last September’s Premier League loss at Arsenal prompted a 13-match winning run, but here Chelsea’s defence was stretched by the Gunners’ pacey three-pronged attack. Alex Iwobi’s direct running twice forced Courtois to be alert, while Danny Welbeck headed at the goalkeeper, who was beaten by Lacazette only for the striker to see the ball rebound off the post. Per Mertesacker had to go off after 30 minutes, struck by Gary Cahill’s flailing arm in the Arsenal box. On came another of Arsenal’s summer signings, Kolasinac.

Chelsea’s first attempt of note came on the counter-attack as Pedro — wearing a face mask following the facial injury sustained between the teams in last month’s friendly in Beijing — stretched the Gunners. Petr Cech was equal to his shot. Willian was booked for simulation in the Arsenal box late in the half as the sides cancelled one another out. Chelsea took the lead within moments of the restart. Granit Xhaka sent Cesc Fabregas’ corner looping into the air and Cahill met the ball on the edge of the area.

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