The Premier League is clear to march barrel-chested to the front of the stage now that the Community Shield has completed it’s warm-up act in the sun at Wembley.
How much meaning Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in London will have on how the league season pans out is questionable. However, Gunners fans hoping for a sign that top-flight silverware is finally heading their way (at a price of 4/1) will be suitably pleased their club finally threw the Blue monkey from their backs.
Here are three talking points from the Community Shield encounter:
The Ox could be key for Arsenal this term
Though the game contained little goal-match action, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s sole contribution to the scoreboard was scintillating enough to quash the early-season thirst for celebration.
Cutting in on his weaker left foot following a slide-rule ball from Theo Walcott, the England international rifled a shot into Thibaut Courtois’ top corner to cap a display of impressive bustle.
His showing was early evidence that two seasons of injury troubles look firmly behind the 21-year-old, with a season of important contributions on a clear road ahead.
Chelsea’s midfield conundrum
A favoured tactic of Jose Mourinho’s in big matches, shown again here, is moving Cesc Fabregas into the number 10 role in order to gain a firmer defensive footing in central midfield.
Dependable workhorse Ramires was handed that duty against Arsenal, but proved ineffective, while the Spanish pass master struggled to gain the control he usually enjoys when starting deeper.
In order for the strategy to work, the Blues may need to find another interfering midfielder with better ball-playing skills to pair alongside Matic and feed Fabregas more regularly.
No time for Gunners to get excited
After 14 attempts in 11 years, Arsene Wenger finally got the better of Mourinho on the touchline. The victory, while an obvious confidence booster ahead of the new season, will count for nothing should normal service resume in league competition.
Arsenal fans will know better than to get carried away too, after watching their side draw three of their first four games following last year’s 3-0 false dawn in this competition against Manchester City.
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