Granit Xhaka, Sead Kolasinac lead to Arsenal to Community Shield victory
Arsenal triumphed in a new-look "ABBA" penalty shootout to win the Community Shield and get their 2017-18 campaign off to a tremendous start.
Although this fixture is essential a friendly, victory over last season's Premier League champions will be good for morale at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners initially fell behind to a Victor Moses goal after some sloppy defending, but found an equaliser through substitute Sead Kolasinac.
The game went to penalties, and once Thibaut Courtois blasted his spot-kick over the bar, there only looked like being one winner. Arsenal have now beaten Chelsea at Wembley twice in the last three months.
Arsene Wenger will be delighted with how sharp his team looked. Even without Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, they looked sprightly and inventive in attack.
This was a game that showed off the depth of the Gunners squad. The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere and Shkodran Mustafi were also missing, and yet Arsenal held their own against a strong Chelsea side.
Wenger will be disappointed at the goal Arsenal conceded. It came just after half-time, and it looked as if the Gunners defence simply weren't concentrating sufficiently to keep track of Moses' run. Wenger and his coaches will have to spend some time over the next week trying to iron out that kind of defensive lapse.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Wenger insisted in the build-up to this game that the Community Shield was not a game to take too seriously, but his agitated manner on the sidelines suggested he really wanted the win. He got it with a dogged and disciplined Arsenal display. This victory marks his ninth consecutive win at Wembley -- perhaps Arsenal should be playing here regularly instead of Spurs. --
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Petr Cech, 7 -- Cech is always keen to put in a good performance against his former club, and he stood no chance with Moses' opener. He did, however, make one vital intervention to prevent Michy Batshuayi racing onto a loose Hector Bellerin back-pass, as well as an acrobatic save to deny Pedro's left-footed drive.
DF Rob Holding, 6 -- Although Holding is a tremendously exciting prospect, his confidence on the ball can lead to him taking some unnecessary risks at times. He's not quite as audacious as John Stones, but he could do with being a touch more conservative at times. On a couple of occasions at Wembley, holding onto the ball for too long almost landed him in real trouble. He was also somewhat culpable on the Moses goal, seemingly unaware that the wing-back had crept in behind him. As you'd expect for one so young, there is still room for improvement.
DF Per Mertesacker, 6 -- Mertesacker returned to Wembley but was not given the chance to repeat the man of the match display he produced in May. With 15 minutes to go in the first half, he trudged from the field pouring blood from a gash sustained in a challenge with Gary Cahill. Assuming there is no concussion, Mertesacker should be back in contention for the Premier League clash with Leicester next Friday.
DF Nacho Monreal, 8 -- The left-back turned centre-half is turning into Arsenal's most dependable defender. Once Mertesacker went off, he took up a role in the centre of the back three and looked assured throughout. He also scored a very competent penalty.
MF Hector Bellerin, 6 -- Last season, Hector Bellerin was left concussed after a nasty challenge from Marcos Alonso. Perhaps he was out for revenge at Wembley, as he was booked early on for a late tackle on his countryman. Perhaps he ought to have been more focused on the game -- it was his lapse in concentration that allowed Victor Moses in to score the opening goal.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 5 -- Oxlade-Chamberlain was arguably a surprise starter over new signing Kolasinac. However, Wenger seemingly wanted to keep faith with the back five who had helped Arsenal win the FA Cup Final in May. This was, in many respects, a typically erratic Oxlade-Chamberlain performance. There were moments of breathtaking athleticism, undercut by heavy touches and poor decisions. He did, at least, score in the shootout.
MF Granit Xhaka, 8 -- Although his one-footedness remains a bit of a problem, Xhaka is Arsenal's best passer between the lines of midfield. He's certain to be a mainstay of Wenger's team next season. Would have equalised with a stunning long-range strike were it not for a brilliant Thibaut Courtois save. He grew as the game went on, and ended up dominating the midfield battle.
MF Mohamed Elneny, 7 -- Arsenal's Egyptian midfielder spent most of preseason playing as an emergency centre-half. Restored to his favoured position, he turned in a typically energetic display in the team's engine room. Elneny has incredible stamina, and probably matched N'Golo Kante for sheer ground covered during this game.
FW Danny Welbeck, 8 -- This England international seems to really enjoy playing at Wembley. After producing a brilliant cameo in Arsenal's FA Cup semifinal win over Manchester City and starring in the final against Chelsea, he was again excellent in the Community Shield. Playing in a deeper role as one of the supporting forwards to Alexandre Lacazette, Welbeck looked very sharp indeed.
FW Alex Iwobi, 8 -- Amid all the talk about Thomas Lemar, it's easily forgotten that Arsenal already have a very exciting attacking midfield prospect on the books. Iwobi looked very good in the "Ozil" role, drifting infield from the right to link up the play. The Nigerian has had a good preseason and is a strong contender to start the Premier League opener on Friday.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 -- The Frenchman figured more prominently than he has done in many friendly games, integrating well with Iwobi and Welbeck in a dynamic front three. He also came the closest to scoring in the first half, planting a beautiful side-footed shot against the post
DF Sead Kolasinac 8 -- Came on for the injured Mertesacker (32) and initially made a good impression with some powerful forward runs. It was the Bosnian international who climbed highest to head home the equalizer -- surely enough to earn him a start in Arsenal's first league fixture.
FW Olivier Giroud, 6 -- Replaced Lacazette (66) and scored the crucial final spot-kick to win the game for Arsenal.
FW Theo Walcott, 6 -- Introduced for Iwobi (67) and scored from the spot.
FW Reiss Nelson, NR -- Subbed on for Welbeck (87) but barely had time to feature.
James McNicholas is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @gunnerblog.