The Premier League season is just a few days away, and the excitement is already fever pitch. But for Chelsea and Arsenal, they have their eyes on the first silverware, Community Shield, with both teams set to battle it out at the iconic Wembley Stadium on Sunday, August 6.
The Community Shield is played between the FA Cup winners and the Premier League champions of the last season. With this match being a London derby, there is huge interest, and it will also give a glimpse of what to expect from these two teams in the upcoming Premier League season.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have made some team changes in the transfer window. They have strengthened their attacks with Arsenal signing goal-machine from Lyon, Alexandre Lacazette and Chelsea have also got Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid. They are world-class strikers and both the players are expected to start for their respective teams in the Community Shield.
With some pre-season games under their belt, Arsenal and Chelsea will be ready for this encounter. However, this match is a different game altogether, where Community Shield is also on the line, which brings pressure as well.
Arsenal have always been an attacking game, and a team, who loves to play beautiful football. Chelsea, on the other hand, are a strong team in all departments and it is not easy to score goals against the Blues.
On the offensive front, Chelsea will miss their star player Eden Hazard, but they will look for players like Morata, Willian and Cesc Fabregas to fire in all cylinders. One is not sure if Alexis Sanchez will feature in the match as well, and they might have to prepare life without him as the Chilean has been linked to some clubs. Due to injuries, Francis Coquelin, Gabriel and Jack Wilshere are set to miss the match.
This clash brings back memories of FA Cup final, where Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to win the title. Can they bring that same level of play to defeat Chelsea? Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger is aware about the look and feel of Chelsea, which is similar to last season, meaning it will be a hard nut to crack on Sunday.
"For us, it is just a good opportunity to repeat the performance from the FA Cup final. I would say that Chelsea look like they have kept the basis of 95% of their squad. They have added Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is a very strong player, a strong ball-winner, similar to Nemanja Matic, maybe less of a distance runner but more of an impact player – but certainly they will fight for the championship again," BBC quoted Wenger as saying.
The Premier League champions will have revenge on their minds, and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte made it known – it is not a friendly match.
"It was a pity to lose the FA Cup final against Arsenal after a really great season for us. Now there is another game. We know very well Arsenal are a strong team. We are expecting a difficult game and we want to start the season with a win. I think the friendlies have ended for us. This is an official game and the first trophy of the season. It's an important game, for sure," Conte said.
Possible starting XI
Arsenal XI: Petr Cech; Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny; Hector Bellerin, Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Sead Kolasinac; Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Alexandre Lacazette
Chelsea XI: Thibaut Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Gary Cahill; Victor Moses, N' Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Pedro, Alvaro Morata
Where to watch live
Arsenal vs Chelsea Community Shield 2017 is scheduled for 2 pm local time, 6:30 pm IST, 9 am ET. TV and live streaming options
India: Sony Ten 2.
UK: BT Sport 1. Live Streaming: Watch BT Sport
US: Fox Sports 1. Live Streaming: Fox Soccer Match Pass
Africa: Supersport 3 Africa
France, Australia: BeIN Sports. Live streaming: Bein Sports Connect.