Three things we learned from Arsenal’s Community Shield win vs. Chelsea

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LONDON — On a glorious day at Wembley Stadium, London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal clashed in England’s capital for the Community Shield.

[ MORE: Wenger, Mou’s feud continues

Arsenal ran out 1-0 winners thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stunning strike in the first half, with Chelsea struggling to break down a stubborn Gunners outfit despite having more attempts at goal and more possession.

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Arsene Wenger secured his first win against Jose Mourinho at the 14 attempt, with the Gunners securing their second-straight Community Shield triumph and fourth-straight trophy in the past 12 months from a Wembley final.

[ VIDEO: Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stunner wins it ]

Here’s what we learned from the traditional curtain-raiser of the domestic season.

WENGER FINALLY OUT-MOURINHO’S, MOURINHO

Hanging out in the Wembley sunshine for the entirety of the game, Mourinho stood on the edge of his technical area with either his hands behind his back or folded as he sized up his team. For the first half, he was not impressed, as Chelsea labored and Arsenal had the cutting edge in the final-third. Eden Hazard was shackled by Hector Bellerin on the flank and then whenever he stepped inside, Francis Coquelin shut him down. After 14 attempts, Wenger finally had his first victory over Mourinho as a manager with the Frenchman going for tactics we saw him develop in the second half of last season.

In many ways, Wenger beat Mourinho at his own game. He deployed Coquelin as a true holding midfielder in the second half of last season to great success, as away from home the Gunners could stop the attacking threats of the opposition but still possessed enough quality to unlock the opposition. Arsenal’s naive nature has dissipated as Wenger can now grind out wins instead of playing “sexy football” for the sake of it. Wenger beat the master of disruption at his own game with late subs seeing the defensive duo of Gibbs and Arteta replace attacking Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil, as he’s finally figured out how to beat a Mourinho side. When you have a goalkeeper like ex-Chelsea stopper Petr Cech — playing against Chelsea for the first time since he left them after an 11-year spell where he won it all at Stamford Bridge — it always makes it easier to defend an early lead. Cech made a fine save from an Oscar free kick in the second half and his calming presence exuded confidence in Arsenal’s backline. He already looks like a superb signing for the Gunners.

CHELSEA’S STRIKER SHORTAGE STILL A WORRY

Starting up front for Chelsea on Sunday, Loic Remy was lost up top. The Frenchman played on the shoulder of Arsenal’s last defender but Chelsea just couldn’t find his lingering runs and he was replaced at half time with Radamel Falcao. With Diego Costa not included in the squad due to his reoccurring hamstring issues, the Blues look devoid up options in attack heading into the first week of the season. Mourinho has taken a chance on Falcao following his dismal loan spell at Manchester United last season, but after coming on at half time he looked considerably sharper than Remy and if Costa is missing for the start of the PL season, you’d expect Falcao to start in his place. With Costa’s fitness issues a concern, will Chelsea dip into the market to sign a new striker between now and the end of the summer transfer window on Sept. 1?

“[We have] three top strikers. If one is injured, we have two. No concerns, no protections,” Mourinho said in the build-up to this game. “It’s a position where we’re very strong. I’m not worried, match after match, and we have a fantastic group of strikers so no problem.”

Jose, are you sure?

CAZORLA WASTED ON THE WING; WALCOTT AN OPTION UP TOP

Eyebrows were raised when Santi Cazorla lined up on the left of midfield for Arsenal, as Coquelin was partnered by Aaron Ramsey in the center. After his heroic second half of last season in a deeper central role, Cazorla has become one of the first names on the teamsheet for Wenger. Playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation Cazorla, Chamberlain and Ozil interchanged in the three attacking midfield positions, but Cazorla wasn’t able to dictate the tempo of the game. Ramsey hasn’t hidden his desire to play in his preferred central role, but is the Welshman a better option than Cazorla alongside Coquelin? Then of course, you have Jack Wilshere too. Wenger has options in the middle but shunting Cazorla out to the left lessened his impact on the match.

Theo Walcott signed a lucrative new four-year deal at Arsenal this week, reportedly for $218,000 per week, and the England international is extremely important for Wenger. Not just because the 26-year-old is now Arsenal’s longest serving player in the current squad, but because he can play either up top or out wide. All the talk this summer has been about Wenger spending outrageous money on a new top-class striker and although Walcott’s strikerate hasn’t been outstanding (76 goals in 300 appearances) if he gets a decent run up top he will deliver. He set up Oxlade-Chamberlain for Arsenal’s goal and was replaced by Olivier Giroud for the final 25 minutes. Walcott’s biggest problem is staying fit but if he can do that, Wenger has three classy strikers in Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Walcott. For now, Arsenal’s biggest problem has been solved.

La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win first opener in four years

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Spain’s top flight is two days into a new season, and here’s a roundup of all of Sunday’s action.

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Atletico Madrid 1-0 Getafe

It wasn’t done in aesthetically pleasing fashion, but Atletico Madrid won their first opening season game in four years.

In fact, the first half was rough with both Atletico and Getafe loosing players to straight red cards. Getafe’s Jorge Molina saw red for a studs-up challenge in the 38th minute, while Renan Lodi was asked to leave the field in his debut for Los Colchoneros. 

Summer signing Alvaro Morata proved to be the difference for Atletico, however. Assisted by former Tottenham fullback Kieran Trippier, the team’s academy product scored early on in the 23rd minute – the goal made Atletico one of eight clubs to start the season with three points.

$140 million signing Joao Felix also made his La Liga debut, and impressed the home crowd with a dazzling run in the second half that ended drawing a penalty for Atletico. Morata missed.

Not the smoothest of games for Diego Simeone’s side, but like Real Madrid, they already have an edge on Barcelona.

Espanyol 0-2 Sevilla 

Julen Lopetegui can finally breathe (and coach) in peace.

Following a series of unfortunate events with the Spanish national team and Real Madrid, Lopetegui and Sevilla started their new era in a winning way.

Sergio Reguilon got things started for the visiting side with a tap in inside the six-yard box. And in the final minutes, no stranger to stepping up for Sevilla, Nolito slotted one past Diego Lopez.

With only two shots on frame to speak for them, Espanyol was one, two steps behind Los Hispalenses, who look for another top-six finish in Spain’s top-flight league.

Sevilla’s young quest for that continues as they travel to Granada. Meanwhile, Espanyol have no time to waist with a Europa League play-off bout against Ukrainian side Zorya lined up midweek.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Real Valladolid

Alaves 1-0 Levante

Report: Edinson Cavani set to join Inter Miami next summer

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Edinson Cavani is reportedly set to make a big splash in Florida.

According to Uruguayan journalist Alvaro Izquierdo, Cavani, 32, is set to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami next summer. The club will make their MLS debut next season.

The specifics of the supposed move are not know, but per the report from Izquierdo, Cavani will join Miami on a free transfer after his contract with PSG expires in June. Since joining in 2013, El Matador has been irreplaceable for the French giants, scoring over 160 goals and becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. This season, Cavani is off to a perfect start -scoring in the first two games of the Ligue 1 season.

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The striker is one of the first superstars linked to Miami, but the general vibe given off by owners Jorge Mas and Beckham is that the club will look to spend big – similar to Atlanta United, LAFC and LA Galaxy.

Miami has signed three players so far ahead of their 2020 MLS debut – Christian Makoun, Julian Carranza, and Matias Pellegrini all currently makeup the squad.

‘But hey this is MLS’: Wayne Rooney slams MLS’ travel arrangements

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Wayne Rooney is not a fan of MLS’ travel arrangements.

D.C. United lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in Canada, and had to fly back to the nation’s capital before prepping for a midweek showdown with visiting New York Red Bulls. To the 33-year-old Englishmen the trip should’ve taken six hours, not half a day.

MLS is notoriously known for the lack of charter flights it offers its teams, a mere four per season is the reported amount each team is allocated. Traveling on commercial flights has caused routine delays for a slew of team’s this season, with certain teams arriving only hours before the first whistle in some cases.

Players, however, will reportedly push for better travel in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not only for Rooney, but for the majority of professional athletes around the world, flying charter is customary.

Upon his arrival to D.C. in 2018, Rooney turned down first-class flights offered by the Black-and-Red, among other fine accommodations. “If you are going to be part of the team, you have to be part of the team,” Rooney said on his decision to reject first-class flights and private hotel rooms. “All in and do the same things. I don’t want special treatment — I wanted to be treated the same as the players. I’m part of this team.”

Rooney, despite being on his way out of D.C. to join Derby County in January, is certainly a part of the team.

He is also now a part of the complex fight for better travel in MLS.

Vela scores 24th, LAFC clinches playoff berth

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SANDY, Utah (AP) – Carlos Vela scored his MLS-leading 24th goal of the season, Tyler Miller had four saves and Los Angeles FC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff berth.

LAFC played a man down after defender Walker Zimmerman, who was shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 17th minute, was given a red for unsporting behavior in the 48th., Real Salt Lake’s Aaron Herrera, who blocked two would-be goals in the first half, was shown a straight red for denial of a goal scoring opportunity on Vela, who then converted from the spot to make it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Vela, whose 15 assists are tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the league lead, broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists. Sebastian Giovinco’s had 22 goals and 16 assists for Toronto FC in 2015.

Miller has eight shutouts this season for LAFC (18-3-4), who have won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight dating to June 28.

Adama Diomande side-netted a rising right-footer to cap the scoring in the 82nd minute.

Salt Lake (12-10-4) had its six-game unbeaten streak, including three straight wins, snapped and allowed multiple goals for the first time since a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on June 1.