On Sunday afternoon Chelsea suffered defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield via penalties, having played out a 1-1 draw in normal time. For the second time in 3 months Chelsea have lost to Arsenal at Wembley, finishing with 10 men on the pitch both times. As a Chelsea fan I watched the game with mixed emotions and mixed reaction to the result. The game itself was rather tiresome in the first half, not many chances for either side apart form a swift Arsenal counter-attack that saw the lively Lacazette hit the outside of the Chelsea woodwork. The second half came to life within an instant. Arsenal, having had much of the ball in the first half, started sluggishly and found themselves 1-0 down to a Victor Moses goal merely two minutes after the restart. From this point onwards Chelsea looked the stronger side, controlling the ball well and winning back possession with haste, with much thanks to the ever-lively N’golo Kante. Courtois making an incredible save from Granit Xhaka’s long range effort, being the only serious effort at his goal.
Come 80 minutes however, with Chelsea seemingly on the way to a rather simple victory, referee Bobby Madley, made a shocking and controversial decision, not for the first time in the game either. Having wrongfully booked Willian in the first half for a dive that clearly saw Bellerin clip Willian’s heal, who subsequently tripped over his own legs (not a penalty in my opinion but certainly not a dive), Madley decided to take centre stage again, sending Pedro off for a yellow card offence at worst, after he clipped the back of Elneny’s heal. The resulting free-kick saw a headed goal come from Arsenal new-boy and free transfer Sead Kolasinac. Although the free-kick was far from debatable the red-card made sure Chelsea had little say in the remaining moments, with new striker Alvaro Morata barely getting a touch.
Come penalties and the new system that confused everyone watching, including commentators. Cahill scored first for Chelsea, then Arsenal scored two, then came Courtois effort. Now I’m not angry at him for missing, after all he is a goalkeeper, but I was extremely confused as to why on earth he was taking the second penalty! after Courtois miss, Morata stepped up and hit the outside of the post, meaning if Arsenal could score their two upcoming penalties, they would win the game. Exactly that happened.
After the game I felt both relief and disappointment. Arsenal played well and were perhaps overall the better side. With new signings Kolasinac and Lacazette looking to be fine additions to their team. Whilst for Chelsea, although disappointed to lose the game, must look forwards. Hopefully the showing of a rather slow and depleted squad might prompt the board to invest more money before the end of the window, hopefully meaning the inclusion of some much needed new signings after the departure of a few too many quality players.