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.

[ MORE: Full schedule for every PL club

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.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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There are only two teams with perfect records through the opening two weeks of the new Premier League season, as there continues to be plenty of surprises.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Bournemouth 1-3 Man City – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Man United 3-1 Crystal Palace – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Tottenham 3-0 Newcastle – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM] 

Brighton 1-1 Southampton – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Sheffield United 1-2 Leicester City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

 

Norwich City 2-2 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Aston Villa 2-1 Everton – (Friday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Wolves 1-2 Burnley – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Live, Europa League: Wolves, Celtic, Rangers all in action

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round has arrived and it is crunch time for three British teams hoping to reach the group stage of the competition.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Wolverhampton Wanderers have negotiated the second and third qualifying rounds to reach this stage, as the Premier League side have made light work of Crusaders and Pyunik but Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men now have a really tough challenge. They play Serie A side Torino in Turin on Thursday in the first leg, and after Wolves drew against Man United on Monday they’ve had little time to rest.

Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic and Rangers are also in action, with Neil Lennon’s Celtic disappointed to crash out of the Champions League in the qualifying rounds as they now have to dust themselves off and get past Swedish side AIK.

Steven Gerrard and Rangers have had to battle through three rounds of qualifying to get to this stage and they head to Legia Warsaw knowing they will be up against it. The Polish giants finished second in their top-flight last season and Rangers will be relying heavily on top goalscorer Alfredo Morales to come up with the goods once again.

Feyenoord host Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Daniel Sturridge‘s Trabzonspor head to AEK Athens and Northern Irish side Linfield host Qarabag in some of the other intriguing clashes, as the first legs are set to be tight and tense with group stage qualification on the line.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while below is the schedule for the Europa League playoff games on Thursday. We will have you covered on Wolves’ European adventure here on Pro Soccer Talk with reaction and analysis.


Thursday’s Europa League playoff round first legs

Astana 3-0 BATE Borisov
Avan Academy v. Dudelange — 11 a.m. ET
FK Suduva v. Ferencvaros — 1 p.m. ET
Malmo v. Bnei Yehuda — 1 p.m. ET
Feyenoord v. Hapoel Beer-Sheva — 1:30 p.m. ET
Ludogorets v. Maribor — 1:30 p.m. ET
Copenhagen v. Riga — 1:45 p.m. ET

AEK Athens v. Trabzonspor — 2 p.m. ET
Legia Warsaw v. Rangers — 2 p.m. ET
FCSB v. Vitoria — 2:30 p.m. ET
Gent v. Rijeka — 2:30 p.m. ET
PSV Eindhoven v. Apollon Limassol — 2:30 p.m. ET
Strasbourg v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 p.m. ET
AZ Alkmaar v. Antwerp — 2:30 p.m. ET
Celtic v. AIK — 2:45 p.m. ET
Linfield v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Braga v. Spartak Moscow — 2:45 p.m. ET
Espanyol v. Zorya — 3 p.m. ET
Torino v. Wolves — 3 p.m. ET
Partizan v. Molde — 3 p.m. ET
Slovan Bratislava v. PAOK — 3 p.m. ET

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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Matchweek 3 of the 2019-20 Premier League season is here, with a massive encounter at Anfield headlining the games and a chance for the new boys to cause some upsets.

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The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today, Sky Sports News, NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Friday
3 p.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Everton – NBCSN [STREAM]

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Norwich v. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Man United v. Crystal Palace – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Sheffield United v. Leicester – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Watford v. West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Liverpool v. Arsenal – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
9 a.m. ET: Bournemouth v. Man City – NBCSN [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. ET: Tottenham v. Newcastle – NBCSN [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. ET: Wolves v. Burnley – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

How will Liverpool, Arsenal line up?

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The big game of the weekend is at Anfield as Liverpool host Arsenal on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) as the Premier League’s only teams who remain perfect collide.

[ MORE: Biggest surprise PL players

Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool have beaten Norwich and Southampton to start the season, while Unai Emery‘s Arsenal beat Newcastle and Burnley but both have had some defensive issues to deal with early in the campaign.

If previous battles between these two giants are anything to go by (see the video above for more on that) we are in for a real treat on Saturday.

Here’s a look at our projected lineups for both teams, with some analysis on why we think Klopp and Emery will start off this way.


Liverpool

—– Adrian —–

—- Alexander-Arnold —- Matip —- Van Dijk —- Robertson —-

—- Henderson —- Fabinho —- Wijnaldum —- 

—- Mane —- Firmino —- Salah —-


Arsenal

—– Leno —–

—- Maitland-Niles —- Sokratis —- Luiz —- Monreal —-

—– Guendouzi —– Torreira —–

—– Ceballos —–

—- Pepe —- Lacazette —- Aubameyang —-


Analysis

Adrian will continue in goal for Liverpool with Alisson out injured and after his howler against Saints last week, plus several other shaky moments and a wonderful save to deny Maya Yoshida, you just don’t know what you’re going to get from the Spanish goalkeeper. Arsenal will look to press him high early and often. Liverpool’s back four should revert back to what it looked like for most of last season with Joel Matip alongside Virgil Van Dijk at center back, with Joe Gomez missing out. In midfield it wouldn’t be surprising if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started but in big games against top six rivals, Klopp has gone a little more conservative over the past 12 months and it is likely Wijnaldum, Henderson and Fabinho will start with Milner coming off the bench as needed. Up top, the famed trio of Salah, Mane and Firmino will look to rip the Gunners apart just like they did at Anfield last season.

Arsenal’s back four is a work in progress, with Monreal and Kolasinac fighting for the left back spot, while Holding is back in training but not yet fit enough to battle with Sokratis and David Luiz for a starting spot. Maitland-Niles is playing well at right back but Hector Bellerin will soon return to give Emery yet another option. Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock both started against Burnley last week but the youngsters could be replaced in the lineup. Lucas Torreira will add extra bite in midfield, while Nicolas Pepe looks ready to make his first start out wide but he could come off the bench in favor of playing Nelson who is more defensive minded. Dani Ceballos will look to build on his early promise in an Arsenal shirt, while Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka are both fit again but this game may come too soon for them to feature.