Community Shield key battles: New signings Falcao and Cech face off?
The curtain will soon rise on a new English football season with the Community Shield at Wembley.
Arsenal and Chelsea contest this year’s renewal, but what are the key battles punters can expect on the pitch? Coral football experts look at five to keep an eye on.
Just who will lead Jose Mourinho’s attack against former stopper Cech? Brazilian-born Spain striker Costa and Colombian hitman Falcao have both struggled with their fitness in recent times, while French forward Remy has been rampant in pre-season.
Letting Czech Republic keeper Cech leave Stamford Bridge may yet prove to be a big mistake, and he could thwart his long-time employers here. Mourinho insists Costa is fine despite a niggling hamstring problem, which clearly requires careful handling.
Falcao is yet to return to form after a serious knee injury, so Remy may be your best bet to beat Cech at 7/4 anytime. An Arsenal clean sheet here is an attractive alternative 13/5 price.
Arsene Wenger has used both rising Spainish star Bellerin and France defender Debuchy at right back during pre-season, with the latter returning after an injury-hit maiden campaign with the Gunners.
Whoever the Arsenal boss selects, they are going to have a tough time keeping Belgium sensation and two-time Chelsea player of the year Hazard quiet, and face the difficult decision of whether to follow his infield incursions off the left flank.
We offer the aptly named Hazard in an enhanced matchday special wincast at 5/1. Please note the Blues must win in 90 minutes and there is a maximum stake of £20 on this boosted bet.
Spain international teammates Cazorla and ex-Gunners skipper Fabregas will duel for engine room control. The former’s new contract is a pleasant surprise, as at one stage he look set to return to his homeland.
Cazorla has turned matches on Wembley’s hallowed turf before and is a 7/2 anytime scorer chance, while fantastic Fabregas was an assists machine last season and 10/3 in the same market.
France frontman Giroud should spearhead the Arsenal attack against Blues centre back Cahill, who will play despite a suspected broken nose. He’s never scored against Chelsea, however, so Giroud’s 7/4 anytime odds are not as appealing as backing Mourinho’s mean to keep a clean sheet at a nifty 9/4.
Theo Walcott v Cesar Azpilicueta
Wenger has also persuaded England attacker Walcott to commit his future to Arsenal and that buoys them ahead of the Shield too.
Up against the defensively disciplined Azpilicueta, Walcott’s pace and willingness to go down the outside may be a problem for his fellow right-footer. An awesomely enhanced 11/2 matchday special wincast featuring Walcott (max stake £20) is thus well worth taking for punters that fancy the Gunners to retain the Community Shield.