Arsenal registered yet another victory over arch rivals on Sunday when they came from behind to beat 10-man Chelsea [pen; 4-1] to clinch the Community Shield.
Victor Moses was to be the unlikely hero after putting Chelsea ahead moments into the second half, but substitute Sead Kolasinac headed Arsenal level late on after Pedro was sent off for a foul on Mohamed Elneny.
All square after 90 minutes, the game went to a penalty shootout with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and new signing Alvaro Morata missing the target for Chelsea.
Olivier Giroud duly converted Arsenal’s fourth kick to give the Gunners another Wembley win over their London rivals, fresh from defeating them in the FA Cup final in May.
A lot of talking points arose from the game, but we are picking out 3;
‘New penalty format’
When Nacho Monreal stepped up to take his spot-kick just after Theo Walcott, there were murmurs reverberating all around Wembley. Not every supporter in the stadium had come to understand the new ‘ABBA’ shootout format. While the winner does still take it all, players from either side no longer take it in turns. Instead, Monreal followed team-mate Theo Walcott in finding the back of the net.
The change is designed to make shootouts fairer – reducing the advantage for the team taking the first penalty and it certainly worked out that way for Arsenal at Wembley. One intriguing aspect is whether or not consecutive misses by the same side will become more likely, Morata joining Courtois in failing to find the target with back-to-back kicks.
But fans and pundits alike have come out en masse on social media to criticise the new format, with former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard being the biggest critic. “The idea is plain stupid and lacks the dramatic climax the former system brings,” he said.
It was the Bosnian free transfer who headed in the late equaliser that helped Arsenal to turn the game around. But before that, he was already earning admiring roars from the crowd.
Coming on as a first-half substitute for Per Mertesacker, one surging run down the left wing in the second half saw him bulldoze beyond several Chelsea players. As well as flexibility, Kolasinac will bring physicality to this Arsenal team.
Chelsea’s new £70m signing from Real Madrid not only squandered a headed chance when unmarked in stoppage time, but then proceeded to miss his penalty kick.
I don’t think Alvaro Morata wanted to introduce himself this way, not with the onerous task of being the new No.9, replacing Diego Costa.
Morata will get over this brief substitute appearance, of course. In fact, there were signs that the tall striker can be a useful target for the Premier League champions, winning several headers. But Michy Batshuayi, the man who started up front for the Blues, will feel he did enough to earn a start against Burnley. Their battle to be first choice will be one to watch.