The football season is well and truly back with the Community Shield, the traditional curtain raiser, less than 24 hours away. It’s Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal and Antonio Conte’s Chelsea charged with getting it all underway at Wembley, and it promises to be a thrilling encounter.
Arsenal have had a productive if understated summer in the transfer market, with prime target Alexandre Lacazette arriving but few others following him. Fans will be eager to see more movement before the end of the window, along with an end to the Alexis Sanchez saga that has dominated much of the last few months.
Chelsea’s summer activity has been far more extreme, with manager Antonio Conte opting to implement an entirely new spine into a side that strolled to the title last term. Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata all look like quality additions, but how quickly they will adapt to the pressures of English football remains to be seen.
Arsenal look set to stick with the back 3 that served them so well at the tail end of last season, with new boys Lacazette and Sead Kolašinac likely to make the starting XI.
Chelsea are also set to continue with last season’s successful formula in terms of formation, although with a few key absences. Pedro will miss the match due to an injury suffered against Arsenal in pre-season, meanwhile Eden Hazard and new boy Tiemoue Bakayoko will both miss out due to respective ankle and knee injuries.
Wembley has been an incredibly happy hunting ground for Arsenal of late, with the Gunners winning on each of their last 8 visits. With such a strong record and a more settled side, it could well be Wenger & co. marching up those famous steps once again come full time.