Arsenal emerged as the winners of FA Community Shield final as they defeated the reigning Premier League champions Chelsea 4-1 on penalties at Wembley. Arguably, value of the Shield might be of less importance but the curtain raiser match exactly showed how equipped the two English football giants are for the upcoming season.
Arsene Wenger fielded a side which featured both the new signings — Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette — but a host of many senior players did not participate in the fixture. Skhodran Mustafi, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil were all missing from the starting lineup.
But a composed Arsenal kept Chelsea under pressure and even after going down by one goal, quickly covering the deficit making sure the momentum stayed with them. Ultimately the 90 minutes ended at 1-1 and the match headed into penalty shoot-out which Arsenal aced.
Here are five things that every Arsenal fan should look forward to as English Premier League officially kicks off in a few days:
1. Alexandre Lacazette
The 53-million-euro recruit from French side Olympique Lyonnais seems to have merged into Wenger’s team like a fish to water. Lacazette possesses an amazing set of technical skills and combines them with his lethal finishing. He can truly be a force to reckon with in the box.
The Frenchman ran riot in Chelsea’s defence on Sunday and proved to be too difficult to contain by the defending trio of Rudiger, Cahill and Luiz.
Given his strike rate in the French league, he can bring the best out in Mesut Ozil and share the goal-scoring burden with Alexis Sanchez.
2. Sead Kolasinac
The Bosnian arrived at North London outfit on a Bosman transfer from Schalke and his heroics against Chelsea showed that he is a remarkable business done by Arsenal scouts.
Even in the pre-season games, he consistently produced fantastic displays at the back. If he stays injury free during the season, he can prove to be an asset.
3. Mohamed Elneny
The Egyptian has come of age for sure as he was a pleasure to watch in the Community Shield match. He was everywhere around the field, asking for ball and laying it off to make something happen. He completed the match with pass completion of more than 90%.
The versatile midfielder can play across multiple positions, even as a centre back, and will give stiff competition to the midfielders.
4. 3-4-3 Formation
It seems like Arsene Wenger will stick to 3-4-3 formation which apparently lifted the downsliding Arsenal side during the closing matches of the last Premier League season.
Per Mertesacker who retracted from his decision to retire and stalled it for another season will form a formidable defensive line with ever-consistent Laurent Koscielny and Skhodran Mustafi.
The midfield engine in the form of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey works well together and they have the capability to pull the strings from the middle of the park, which they proved in the second half of the last season.
The eye-watering attacking trio of Sanchez, Ozil and Lacazette will be the one to watch out for. Given their supreme footballing skills, Arsenal fans can expect fireworks.
5. Arsene Wenger
Love him or hate him, he is staying and the Professor looks hungrier than ever for glory. If he will celebrate another continental qualification next year or will ultimately taste the champagne from the Holy Grail remains to be seen but he is truly one of the greatest managers English club football has ever seen.