The traditional curtain raiser of the League season, the Community Shield went into Arsenal’s trophy room after a sensational first half strike from Chamberlain which also helped Wenger in ending his hoodoo against his old foe. Chelsea, other than Diego Costa fielded a full strength squad, failed to breach the Gunners defense which for large parts deployed a more pragmatic approach.
Wenger started Walcott upfront instead of Olivier Giroud hoping to repeat the kind of success he had when he last played there in the FA cup final against Aston villa. It turned out to be partly successful as he provided the assist for the solidary goal. But for large parts he was invisible and was hardly involved in the play. The same can be said about last year’s player of the season award winner Hazard, who also failed to made any impact other than that one shot which he struck over the bar in the second half. It was Chamberlain’s show all the way as he constantly troubled the Spanish right back Cesar Azpilicueta with his speed and power.
It’s still early season and the Chelsea players were lethargic and were nowhere near their best. Fabregas was off pace and failed to provide any meaningful chances. The Community Shield over the past few seasons has been treated mainly as a friendly, but yesterday was different, as there were constant fouls and clumsy challenges by players which also led to a scuffle between Arteta and Falcao in the second half.
The second half substitution of Giroud for Walcott almost paid immediate dividends with the Frenchman found the side netting. The lanky striker provided some much needed physical presence along with the aerial threat which Walcott couldn’t provide.
Same can be said of Chelsea with Costa ruled out, Mourinho gave Loic Remy a rare start, which he couldn’t capitalize on as he was constantly flagged offside. He was replaced by the Colombian Falcao, who also failed to do anything in those 45 min in the second half.
The Gunners continued to sit back for the entire second half and with Wenger making defensive substitutions it was more a less a comfortable last quarter of an hour. Both managers have a lot to deal with their striking department, an injury to either of Costa or Giroud could falter their season pretty much and a chance of winning the title would become a distant dream.
It wasn’t a complete performance, wasn’t the Arsenal way but Mourinho got a bit of his own medicine of parking the bus which makes this victory not just sweet and a memorable one but also gives us a glimpse of what Arsene and the bunch of his players can do on their day.
There has never been a doubt about the quality, but can they do it over an entire season? We will only know it on May 15th 2016.