The FA Community Shield

Arsenal brush aside Chelsea to lift Community Shield

Sunday 02 Aug 2015
Arsenal lift The FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's

Arsenal kicked off the new season as they ended the last – with silverware at Wembley – as they edged Chelsea 1-0 in The FA Community Shield.

The national stadium has become something of a second home for the Gunners in recent times, and a happy hunting ground too.

Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea

FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Sunday 2 August 2015

This was their sixth visit to Wembley since April 2014 – and the victory over their London rivals means they have left victorious on every occasion, this time thanks to a first-half thunderbolt from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Gunners – who had won all four of their pre-season games with 14 goals scored and just one conceded – had spoken of maintaining that momentum in the build-up to the season’s curtain-raiser.

Before the action got under way in the bright mid-summer sunshine of north-west London, the proceedings began with a moment of poignancy.

Chelsea striker Loic Remy holds off the challenge of Per Mertesacker

Chelsea striker Loic Remy holds off the challenge of Per Mertesacker

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker won the coin toss and, against precedent, elected to turn the two teams around.

That resulted in new signing Petr Cech running the length of the field to defend the goal in front of the Chelsea supporters.

They greeted their former stopper with the adulation they felt his 11 years and 13 trophies at the club warranted.

So often an opportunity for fans to get a first glimpse of their summer signings, Cech turned out to be the only debutant in the 2015 Community Shield starting 11s.

Petr Cech denies John Terry a header with a strong clearance with his fist

Petr Cech denies John Terry a header with a strong clearance

Chelsea’s only new arrival – Radamel Falcao – had to make do with a place on the bench, with Loic Remy given the nod after first-choice frontman Diego Costa pulled out after complaining of tightness in his hamstring.

There had also been much debate in the lead-up to the game as to who Arsene Wenger would select in the central striker role.

England forward Theo Walcott – who has impressed in the position throughout pre-season – was given the chance to impress.

And Walcott, who scored seven goals during an injury-hit 2014-15 campaign, was first to force a save after he met Mesut Ozil's whipped free-kick.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulls the trigger to fire Arsenal into the lead

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulls the trigger to fire Arsenal into the lead

His effort went straight into the grateful grasp of Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea goal.

It had been a positive start for the Gunners. Aside from a speculative Branislav Ivanovic effort from inside his own half, Cech had had little to do other than admire the Wembley sunshine during the opening 30 minutes.

Arsenal were in control. Mourinho, in tracksuit bottoms and club t-shirt, patrolled the technical area but watched on silence. It was a stance he maintained throughout the contest.

His counterpart Wenger, smart in shirt-sleeve order club suit attire, joined him sporadically and he barked instructions to his players.

And on 24 minutes his side got the breakthrough he will feel their positive play had deserved.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and his team-mates celebrate his strike

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and his team-mates celebrate his strike

Oxlade-Chamberlain was picked out by England team-mate Walcott wide on the right flank.

He bought space for himself with a smart sidestep, cut inside Cesar Azpilicueta and fired home an unstoppable left-foot effort.

It was his first goal since the 3-1 defeat against Monaco in the Champions League in February, and Arsenal’s first against a Chelsea side managed by Mourinho since 2007.

His celebrations showed what it meant to him, as he ran over to the Arsenal fans, jumped high into the air and pumped both fists in delight. 

Chelsea had offered very little in the final third, and they struggled to raise their game even after falling behind.

The 2014-15 Player of the Year, Eden Hazard, cut a frustrated figure on the right flank and barely touched the ball in the first half.

Willian launches an attack under pressure from Nacho Monreal

Willian launches an attack under pressure from Nacho Monreal

Ramires had gone close on two occasions. First with a curling right-foot effort from just outside the box that flew just wide.

He will feel disappointed not to have levelled when he jumped to meet a Remy cross inside the six-yard box, heading over when it seemed easier to score.

Mourinho had seen enough and decided to ring the changes.

Falcao got his chance as a half-time substitute for Remy, and Oscar replaced Ramires 10 minutes into the second period.

Oscar immediately threatened and ran at the Arsenal defence but pulled his shot wide.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks dejected on the touchline

Moments later the Brazil international went close with a free-kick, but Cech dived high to his right and produced a fine save – much to the delight of the Arsenal faithful behind goal to Wembley’s west end.

At the other end Olivier Giroud – who was on in place of Walcott – hooked a shot high over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.

As Chelsea pressed for a late equaliser Arsenal looked to hit them on the counter-attack.

Santi Cazorla had a gilt-edged opportunity to put the game out of reach with five minutes to go, but was denied by Courtois after he hesitated in the box.

It mattered not though, as Arsenal saw out the closing stages to claim the Shield – and ensure Wenger’s 14-game wait for victory against a Mourinho side ended.

Arsenal (4-1-4-1): 33 Petr Cech; 24 Hector Bellerin, 4 Per Mertesacker (captain), 6 Laurent Koscielny, 18 Nacho Monreal; 34 Francis Coqeulin; 16 Aaron Ramsey, 19 Santi Cazorla, 15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 11 Mesut Ozil; 14 Theo Walcott.

Substitutes: 12 Olivier Giroud for Walcott 65; 8 Mikel Arteta for Oxlade-Chamberlain 77; 3 Kieran Gibbs for Ozil 81.

Substitutes not used: 26 Emiliano Martinez, 2 Mathieu Debuchy, 5 Gabriel, 45 Alex Iwobi.

Goals: Oxlade-Chamberlain 24.

Bookings: Coqeulin 67.

Manager: Arsene Wenger

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): 13 Thibaut Courtois; 2 Branislav Ivanovic, 24 Gary Cahill, 26 John Terry (captain), 28 Cesar Azpilicueta; 7 Ramires, 21 Nemanja Matic; 22 Willian, 4 Cesc Fabregas, 11 Eden Hazard; 18 Loic Remy.

Substitutes:  9 Radamel Falcao (for Remy ht); 8 Oscar for Ramires 54; 5 Kurt Zouma for Azpilicueta 69; 20 Victor Moses for Terry 82.

Substitutes not used: 1 Asmir Begovic, 11 Juan Cuadrado, 12 John Obi Mikel,.

Bookings: Azpilicueta 65.

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Referee: Anthony Taylor

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer At Wembley Stadium connected by EE