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English football’s traditional curtain raiser, the Community Shield, takes place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The game, which had its kickoff moved so as to not clash with the Women’s European Championship final, is a repeat of May’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea.
Chelsea went into the cup final with all the confidence in the world having just blown away the competition to win the Premier League. However, it was Arsenal who victorious on the day and deservedly so. Arsene Wenger showed all of his experience in becoming the most successful manager in FA Cup history while Arsenal extended their excellent recent form at Wembley.
Can Chelsea gain revenge on Arsenal on Sunday or will the Gunners win once again at the national stadium for a welcome morale boost before the Premier League gets underway next weekend?
Chelsea 6/5 (Bet365)
Arsenal 5/2 (Betfred)
Draw 5/2 (Sky Bet)
Despite beating Chelsea twice last season, Arsenal are the slight underdogs with the bookies. That’s probably because you can make excuses for Chelsea’s performance in the FA Cup final. They had the Premier League title sewn up a couple of weeks before their day out at Wembley and despite Conte’s best efforts, it’s little surprise that they found motivation something of a challenge.
Arsenal, on the other hand, just had the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League and needed the FA Cup win more than their London rivals.
You’d have to think the same is true when it comes to the Community Shield. Some Arsenal fans are still unhappy that Wenger was given a new contract at the end of last season but after some positive moves in the transfer window, the Arsenal manager will be confident about a much better season this time around.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have had problems signing their main transfer targets and are struggling big time with injuries. With concerns about the squad before the start of the new season, Chelsea’s collective eye may be off the ball once again at Wembley and Arsenal can take full advantage by winning at odds of 5/2 with Betfred.
Draw 1-1 @ 13/2 (William Hill)
Chelsea 2-1 @ 17/2 (Paddy Power)
Chelsea 1-0 @ 17/2 (Ladbrokes)
Arsenal 2-1 @ 11/1 (Betfair)
Chelsea 2-0 @ 11/1 (Bet365)
Arsenal 1-0 @ 12/1 (Betfair)
Very few people who watched the FA Cup final would claim that Arsenal were not deserving of the trophy after the 90 minutes. But, both teams played their part in a thoroughly entertaining game. Chelsea actually had 13 shots on goal, two more than Arsenal, but they both hit the target five times. The fact that Arsenal were more clinical in front of goal made all the difference.
The rematch at the Community Shield could follow a similar pattern.
While Arsenal have Alexandre Lacazette fit and raring to go, Chelsea’s own big money striker, Alvaro Morata, has not yet hit the fitness levels required by Conte. The Blues will have their chances against an Arsenal defence which was far from convincing last season and should get on the scoresheet. But, the Gunners look the most likely to win an entertaining match so a bet Arsenal to win 2-1 at odds of 11/1 with Betfair could pay off handsomely.
Alvaro Morata 4/1 (Ladbrokes)
Michy Batshuayi 11/2 (Bet365)
Alexandre Lacazette 11/2 (Ladbrokes)
Olivier Giroud 6/1 (Bet365)
Loic Remy 6/1 (Sky Bet)
Danny Welbeck 7/1 (Paddy Power)
Pedro 7/1 (Bet365)
Willian 17/2 (Paddy Power)
Chelsea fans have accepted that Diego Costa will be leaving Stamford Bridge before the end of the transfer window. They’re a little less accepting of Alvaro Morata as his replacement. The 24-year-old Spaniard hasn’t impressed in pre-season given his lack of fitness and he’s got a lot of work to do to live up to his huge transfer fee. He’d love to be the man to make the difference at Wembley but Antonio Conte has questioned whether he’s even fit enough to get a game on Sunday.
If you want to back a Chelsea player to score first, Michy Batshuayi (who could be in for a big season) looks a good option at 11/2 with Bet365. But, the man we recommend backing is Olivier Giroud.
The Frenchman was close to leaving Arsenal over the summer but he is set to stay at the club and fight for his place in the team. Giroud’s physical presence and ability to get on the end of chances is a valuable weapon for Arsenal and he could grab Sunday’s opening goal at 6/1 with Bet365.
Arsenal to win at 5/2 with Betfred
Olivier Giroud to score first at 6/1 with Bet365