FA Community Shield preview: Will Arsenal or Chelsea claim the season’s first reward?

1 Comment

Both Chelsea and Arsenal hope to lay claim to the first of several accolades when they duel for the FA Community Shield on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.

Arsenal looks to win its second-straight Community Shield, something that only Manchester United has been able to do since the Gunners last won consecutive shields in 2000, while Chelsea is in search of just its fifth shield.

[ MORE: Mourinho says Arsenal can win league ]

In fact, the Blues have failed in their last two attempts to win a Community Shield, falling 3-1 to Manchester United in 2010 before losing 3-2 to Manchester City in 2012.

It’s Petr Cech’s first chance to face Chelsea since departing this summer, and Arsenal’s No. 1 will be eager to out-duel Thibaut Courtois at the other end of the pitch.

For Chelsea, both Gary Cahill and Diego Costa came through minor injury scares suffered in the International Champions Cup, and the Blues should be at close to full strength for the affair.

Prediction: Arsenal has cruised through its preseason, and has the added benefit of being London-bound since returning from Singapore. The wins were impressive, too, topping Everton, Wolfsburg and Lyon amongst its opponents.

For Chelsea, a loss to a weakened New York Red Bulls side was followed by draws against Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona. The Blues will hope their step-up in preparation makes the cross-Atlantic travel less of a favor.

We’ll call it for Chelsea, with Eden Hazard as the main factor. These early season matches tend to feature mistakes and open play, so let’s call it 2-1 to the Blues.