Wenger finally defeats Mourinho, Arsenal plays like title contenders

Wenger Mourinho Cech Fabregas Community Shield 2015 Arsenal Chelsea

Community Shield 2015: Arsenal 1 – 0 Chelsea

Review by a Malaysian Gooner

So here we are, in a blink of an eye, just a week before the start of the new football season and on this evening, we have had a taste of just how good our current team can be. It was the Community Shield, which we won last year against Manchester City, who were the reigning champions then, and this time, we won against the current reigning champions, Chelsea. And it was the boss Arsene Wenger’s first ever victory over Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho for the first time in 14 attempts. Can’t wait to see what this arrogant fella has to say now. He’d probably blame the referee or something.

Both teams were without their top scorers, Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa respectively. Arsenal started the game strong, attacking and pressing forward from kickoff. Neither team could find a shot on goal until Theo Walcott attempted a decent header from a set piece by Mesut Ozil. I was quite skeptical with Theo Walcott starting in the centre striker position instead of Olivier Giroud. He doesn’t quite know how to come deeper when needed to help link up passes. He can poach and make runs, but not hold a ball like a target man. But he did make the pass to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who cut inside against Cesar Azpilicueta in the box from his right wing position and scored an impressive left-footed rocket goal in the 24th minute. Isn’t he a right-footed player? Amazing! From then on, we created couple more decent chances before halftime.

Willian looked the most dangerous for Chelsea as our right side was always left very open. Where was Hector Bellerin? Fortunately, thanks to the good recovery, determined defence, heroic efforts by Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny, and Chelsea’s own incompetence, we didn’t concede. Chelsea’s new started off stronger in second half with their new striker Falcao substituted into the game. They looked really scary and it felt like they could score any time with the way they were pressuring our half and pushing us back. We couldn’t keep the ball at all. Our former captain Cesc Fabregas made a brilliant through pass to the Footballer of the Year Eden Hazard right in the box with only their former goalkeeper Petr Cech to beat but Hazard somehow skied it. Typically I wondered if he was paid to play badly ’cause he just scored a solo goal against Barcelona not long again.

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Giroud came in for Walcott with around 20 minutes left and his impact was quite immediately evident. The link-up plays were far better and we had more decent counter-attack chances. Two one-on-one with Chelsea’s goalkeeper Courtois were missed by Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs, but to be fair, Courtois did close down rather quickly. I can see why Mourinho prefers this young lad and didn’t mind selling letting Cech go. But we have their better-experienced keeper now. Cech made a good save to stop Oscar’s accurate freekick from right outside the box. Cech’s presence and defence organisation were probably the difference today. Aaron Ramsey put himself in good shot-talking positions today but failed to make any on target if I’m not mistaken.

Arsenal winners of Community Shield 2015

In this pacey intense game, although Chelsea were rather poorer than usual, I was quite pleased with the overall performance of our players. I thought the team is now fearless and very different compared to last time when my patience for Wenger was really over the limit. The fragile mentality, physically weak and lack of confidence against big clubs seem to be gone now. All we need now is a world class central striker and I would be confident that we could truly challenge for EPL title and maybe even the Champions League. Just bid 50 million pounds for Karim Benzema, Wenger, and I’d know you’ve at least tried. I hope this would not be just another season where we’d say we could’ve challenge for the league if we signed one or two more.

Anyway, we all know the Community Shield seems jinxed and is named the “Bad-Luck Trophy” by some as most of the clubs that won it didn’t go on to win the league. Let’s break that curse, shall we? With Wenger and Mourinho still acting like silly little kids against each other, it’s going to be a fun season if we could stay in the title race from the very beginning.

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