London rivals open the show
Chelsea and Arsenal back at Wembley
Chelsea and Arsenal closed the 2016/17 English football season, and they will bring the curtain up on the latest campaign when meeting in Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley. ITV screen the action live from 2.00pm.
Two of the domestic game’s biggest names going head-to-head on terrestrial TV in front of a bumper audience at the national stadium – the perfect way to get the ball rolling again, and there will be nothing neighbourly about this encounter. Coral are betting on over 165 markets in the match, you only have to back one to land a profit.
History is on Arsenal’s side
This history of these teams in the Community Shield couldn’t be much different. Chelsea have played in 11 finals, and won the trophy four times, Arsenal have contested no less than 21 finals, and kissed the silver 14 times. Neither get anywhere near Manchester United on 21 wins, but The Gunners have come out on top in two of the last three years.
Impressive, but made all the better when we remember Arsenal last claimed the Community Shield in 2015 with a win over Chelsea. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the winning goal that day, netting midway through the first-half. The 23-year-old has been a transfer target for Antonio Conte all summer, with the England cap expected to move to the bridge before the end of August.
Wenger remains undecided on Sanchez
Football fans will remember Arsenal also did a number on Premier League champions Chelsea at this very venue little over two months ago, beating their city rivals in the FA Cup final, despite being written off by everyone, including their own fans, before a ball had been kicked. Alexis Sanchez scored that day, Diego Costa levelled up before Aaron Ramsey put the game to bed.
It has been a summer of change at both clubs, the fact Sanchez and Costa are unlikely to line-up proves that. Costa has been given an extended summer holiday by the Stamford Bridge club, and isn’t welcome back, while Arsene Wenger told fans he’s not yet decided if Chilean striker Sanchez will get game time. The 28-year-old only returned to training on Tuesday following a break.
It’s difficult to ignore the value
Certain to miss out for The Blues is Eden Hazard, who continues his recovery following ankle surgery, and won’t be rushed back to make the season opener next week either. New boy Alvaro Morata, a summer signing from Real Madrid, is likely to feature, and has been marked up as a 4/1 favourite to open the scoring, or 7/5 to bulge the net at any time during play.
Chelsea are 6/5 to get the desired result and lay down a marker for the coming months, while those who had their fingers burnt in the FA Cup final can have another upset win for Arsenal at 11/5. That’s sure to prove popular. It’s worth noting that three of the last four finals has seen only one team score. Click no in the both to score market at a handy 13/10.