Arsenal gunning for successive Community Shield wins
Chelsea watch out, Arsenal look like the real deal and, while the Community Shield might be a curtain raiser, the Gunners could well raise the roof on Wembley stadium.
Arsene Wenger’s side are 15/8 with Coral to seal victory over Chelsea, who have a number of injury worries. Diego Costa tweaked his hamstring in the win over Barcelona and is a credible concern for the Blues. He is 5/4 in the anytime market, however, it is unlikely that Jose Mourinho will rush him back for this game. Radamel Falcao may deputise in his absence and the Colombian is 6/4 to net in the same market.
With Petr Cech now at Arsenal, Chelsea need to produce something special if they are going score goals. Czech republic custodian Cech was arguably the man-of-the-match last time out against Wolfsburg for Arsenal in their Emirates Cup win, and letting the goalkeeper join the Gunners could be the biggest mistake of the summer.
Centre half Gary Cahill could yet play with a mask, after sustaining a broken nose, though don’t expect Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud to hold back.
The Gunners were at their best in the Emirates Cup, as they swept aside French outfit Lyon 6-0 with a number of youngsters impressing. Wenger has to decide whether to stick with youth against the club’s London rivals and who to play through the middle.
While Theo Walcott finished last season in the lone striker role, to superb effect, Wenger has to account for the prolonged absence of Alexis Sanchez – a Copa America winner with his native Chile. The attacker, who usually operates on the left wing for Arsenal has been given a rest following his international exploits and, as a result, the 26-year-old could drop to the flank.
Should Cahill play, it would be an apt opportunity for Giroud to line up against Cahill and his physical edge might get the better of the handicapped defender. The Frenchman is 7/4 in the anytime market and he will remember that he netted a world class goal in the win over Manchester City last year.
Walcott, who scored against Wolfsburg to seal their Emirates Cup victory, also netted on his last Wembley appearance (as did Giroud) as Arsenal thumped Aston Villa 4-0 in the FA Cup final. Having broken the deadlock that day, he is 6/1 to do so again.