By Junaid Tariq
The new English premier league season is upon us and what better way to kick it off then a spicy Community Shield encounter between the London rivals. It’s been a honeymoon period for the oil rich club stamping their authority and winning last year’s League convincingly. Making the most of the present good time, Jose Mourinho did not disappoint his fans by forcing a case out of nothing with ‘buying the trophy’ jibe. Such a modest yet reliable source as Skysports have rubbished his claims and put mud on Jose’s dramatic interview in the press. I won’t blame the manager because it marks the class of a club which has a history of a decade. Fortunately for Gooners, Wenger has done his bit by making his mark against Jose off the field. While the Arsenal manager has been outwitted by the Portuguese nemesis time and again on the field; he has won more than just a consolation by signing a world class keeper in Petr Cech. A keeper of highest quality managed to escape the clutches of the Roman Empire, joined a club with rich history and a great structure that has been earned through hard work and period of transitional struggle.
For the game, both teams will be fairly similar to what they played last season. It is a matter of growth of their last season squad rather than putting a ‘Van Gaal’ show in the transfer market. For Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck will miss the game. The Chilean will be given well-earned time to get fit for the opening game of the Premier League season where as the English striker is still injured. For me, Arsenal will have to completely rely on Olivier Giroud against the best defensive unit in Premier League. So, Wenger will have to play Walcott in the wings for now. Again, it will be a huge test for the revelation of last season, Francis Coquelin, because of whom Wenger did not buy a single defensive midfield this summer. It’s up to the French duo to prove doubters wrong. Petr Cech is set to start in front of a relatively shaky Arsenal defense at times. Koscielny and Per will have to play out of their skins to keep the Czech legend happy for the season because mostly, he has been enjoying elite days between the sticks in his Chelsea era.
As for Chelsea, their lineup will be pretty much similar to that of last season. Arsenal should be playing on the counter and take a leaf out of Chelsea book to score against them. Chelsea will look to do same and try to exploit the vulnerability of Arsenal’s fullbacks. Bellerin, if playing, will be having a huge task coping with Hazard’s acceleration in the wings. The Spanish teenager has had a good season but he has been error prone while defending against tricky wingers. Hazard is one of the best in those situations and Bellerin will have to be focused and play his best. Coquelin and even Ramsey will have to sit back and support his full backs while defending. As an Arsenal fan, I have nothing but high praise for Cesc Fabregas, a player of sublime quality and perfect attitude. It was nothing short of trauma when Gooners had to see Arsenal’s former favorite son wearing the Oil rich jersey but we will have to deal with it. He will be crucial opening up Arsenal defense on the counter but I hope he has a bad game and a poor season.
Overall, this promises to be an intense game because of derby rivalry and two C’s (Cech and Cesc). There is no secret about Jose and Wenger hatred; along with rival fans, both managers will want the bragging rights before the league starts. I see an organized Chelsea team making most of their confidence after winning the league. After convincing win against Man City in last Community shield, it will be difficult for Gunners to shut out Jose’s XI this Sunday. I see a hard fought midfield battle between the London rivals and Chelsea coming out on top against the minus Sanchez Arsenal. May be, good news for Arsenal because Community Shield winners hardly wins the League and I’ll be happy if Arsenal makes up for the loss in the forthcoming English Premier League.
But I still hope Chelsea lose.