After thirteen futile attempts, Arsenal finally beat a Jose Mourinho- led Chelsea at the fourteenth attempt thanks to a goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, to win the Community Shield. Although the game was for Charity, Arsenal can take a lot of positives out of the game. The serious business though starts next week.
Four minutes later, Arsenal took the lead. Walcott played the ball to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the Chelsea box and was expected a return pass. However Oxlade-Chamberlain ignored him and fired a left foot curler into the top right hand corner of Courtois’ goal to give the gunners the lead.
Just after the hour mark, Chelsea should have drawn level. The Arsenal defenders failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Ramires, whose curled shot was just wide of the post.
In the 38th minute, Aaron Ramsey was played through but his shot could only find the side netting of Courtois’ goal. The score remained 1-0 to Arsenal at the break.
Just after the hour mark, Cesc Fabregas played Eden Hazard in with a slide rule pass but a vigilant Laurent Koscielny did just enough and forced him to shoot wide. Olivier Giroud replaced Walcott and nearly had an immediate impact, when a deflected cross came in from the right hand side. Unfortunately he could not keep his shot down. That would have been some arrival on the pitch.
Midway through the second half, Chelsea were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Arsenal area. Oscar took it but Petr Cech tipped it round the post. Arsenal went straight down the other end and nearly doubled their lead as Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed the ball to Giroud on the box. It seems easier for him to score but he somehow skied his shot over the bar from close range.
With five minutes to Arsenal broke from inside their half with Ramsey baring down on the Chelsea goal. He passed to Santi Carzola but is shot was smothered by Courtois.
In the first minute of stoppage time Arsenal had a free kick for a foul on Giroud. Carzola’s took it but it took a deflection for a corner. Kieran Gibbs also had a chance to put the game beyond doubt but Courtois smothered his shot.
Arsenal were the better team overall and deserved to win. They looked a yard sharper than Chelsea. Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal contingent would probably swap this victory for a win in the league or a meaningful cup but they will take it non-the-less. Last season the Gunners beat Manchester City in the curtain raiser here at Wembley and used it as a launch pad for their season as they took four points off them.
Petr Cech looked rock solid and did not put a foot wrong all day. Even if Wenger does not make any other additions to his squad before the close of the transfer window, it appears he might have bagged the bargain of the season. Cech could be worth 15 points to this Arsenal side. He was very commanding in the box and he may well turn out to be the leader that has been missing at the back. No wonder Jose Mourinho did not want to sell him to a rival. However the decision was taken out of his hands by the owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovic.
Let us not get carried away with this defeat of Chelsea though. Everyone knows that when the serious business starts next week, Chelsea will still be the team to beat. Back to Arsenal though, everyone knows that they are good in the second half of the season. However if they are able to cure their traditional collapse before Christmas they might have a say in the title race. Surely that is the challenge.