Sunday 6th August. 2PM. ITV
The 2017-18 English football season has arrived but the Premier League campaign doesn’t start until next Friday. Before that, though, the champions meet the FA Cup winners at Wembley in the traditional Community Shield curtain raiser.
Can the Gunners repeat their May’s magical display or will the Blues cruise their way to silverware? Whatever happens, it should be a fascinating encounter in the capital.
Will Gunners Fire On All Cylinders
Last season’s FA Cup heroics are probably the only reason why Arsene Wenger is still at the helm, and the Gunners will be desperate to have a far more consistent campaign in 2017-18. A win over their rivals at Wembley would set out their stool before the league campaign has even started.
The Gunners have added well over the summer with Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac offering increased quality and depth. Perhaps their greatest success, however, has been keeping Alexis Sanchez. They may be tested further over the coming weeks, but the Chilean’s presence will be a boost for the whole side right now.
Despite having a poor record against the Blues in previous years, the Gunners actually got the better of the Blues last term. Meanwhile, last month’s friendly loss in China will do very little to unsettle their nerves.
Wenger’s men will be the underdogs, but know they can cause problems for the champions. If they perform as they did in the cup final, a win could be on the cards.
Conte’s Chelsea Ready To Go Again
The cup final may have been a disappointment, but it should not be forgotten that Antonio Conte’s men raced their way to the Premier League crown last time. They were the best side in the country by a distance, and they’ll be eager to pick up from where they left off.
Chelsea may have lost Nemanja Matic to Manchester United, but the additions of Alvaro Morata Antonio Rudiger, and Tiemoue Bakayoko should make them even stronger than last season. Following a good pre-season, including that win in Beijing over the Gunners, they should be ready to fire an early warning shot ahead of the new campaign.
Conte’s other big decision for the new season will be whether to stick with the same formation or tweak it slightly. Ultimately, if he can get the best out of start creatives like Eden Hazard, the Blues will have a great chance of winning on Sunday, as well as defending their title.
A loss for either side wouldn’t be too damaging, but it’s always nice to win a trophy. With the chance to do it against a rival, we’d expect to see a thrilling encounter.
Arsenal v Chelsea Community Shield Betting
It will come as no surprise to learn that the champions are favourites to win the season opener. Chelsea are priced 6/5 to win the game with Unibet while Arsenal are available at 9/4. If you think it will go to the new penalty system, the draw can be backed at 5/2.
Whatever happens, it should be an interesting affair with plenty of action at either end. While the pace may be a little slow at the start, both teams are more than capable of converting their chances.
An early goal could see this one burst into life. We’re not just backing both teams to score. We’re backing them to do it before the break.
Both teams will have their eyes on a new striker. Quite frankly, both Morata and Lacazette will be fancied to have big seasons. Scoring on Sunday would be a great way to make an early impression against a rival.
Can they each score at Wembley? At odds of 11/2, it’s well worth a punt.