Arsenal vs. Chelsea – 6th August 2017 – Wembley Stadium
So it’s the first (kind of) official game of the season, where we play our West London city neighbours at Wembley.
This summer has been….well average, in my opinion. Lacazette is a plus, as is Kolasinac. Sanchez staying (even if it’s for just a season) is good, as are Ozil and the Ox in them not leaving at least.
And the Emirates Cup “win”, plus winning a “cup” vs. Bayern, was pleasing of sorts – though it’s hard to tell from the below pic:
However, pre-season is meaningless, and now in a way, is when the rubber hits the road.
I expect us, and Chelsea, to field strong teams here, and of course our recent record vs. Chelsea at Wembley is excellent.
The Community Shield is not really a major trophy, though we have a proud tradition in it nonetheless, and only Man United has won it more times than us. A good performance and win here could boost us, and of course Chelsea’s is a scalp we always wish to take.
However, we’ve beaten Man United before in past seasons, and they either won the league or won trebles in the following seasons. We lost in 2003, and we all know what happened in the coming season. I’m not saying we will win the league, or even go unbeaten, again. However, we should take the game (win or loss) with a grand pinch of salt.
Comparisons with 2015 will naturally arise, since we beat them 1-0, with Wenger’s first ever win of any description over Mourinho. However, the aforementioned point about pinches of salt is relevant. We DID bottle the league that season, and almost finished below that lot bordering Edmonton.
Points to watch
- I believe Alexis may play. He has had time to fit in, and he seemingly truly was ill, and has trained well as per the photos from the Emirates Members Day.
- Lacazette, bar a late injury, HAS to start. Though it would be interesting to see if he will play with Giroud in a top two.
- The defence is interesting, as Kos will be back, (confirming that this is a friendly, since he is in the middle of serving a 3-match FA ban) though in my mind suspensions shouldn’t carry on over seasons. Either the club, or Koscielny himself, should be served an enlarged fine instead of a continued suspension, as seasons should be distinct.
- The midfield pairing will be intriguing, though Xhaka and Ramsey may start. Will Ox play at right-wing back? Possibly. I’d prefer him over Bellerin, due to his crossing ability, and Kolasinac will be left-wing-back. I believe Wenger will play three at the back in this game, though may change to a back-four dependent on match circumstances.
This is my team for the game:
All eyes will be on Lacazette, as if he can get a goal in his technically official debut (not a random friendly in Australia or the Emirates Cup…) then this would give him a lot of confidence.
I suspect this will go to penalties, which I’m confident we could win. Either way, I do reckon we can win in normal time too, though both sides will be well-matched.
Win on penalties
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea in normal time
A strong performance, even if we lose, could be vital in priming the team for the season-opening Leicester game.
Could we win 1.5 (according to Mourinho) trophies at Spurs’ ground, within the space of two and a half months? We will see, but we’ve won real trophies at their ground before, so 0.5 of a trophy would be good too…