It was a lovely curtain raiser for all Arsenal fans worldwide as we have won our fourth trophy in fifteen months. Some way to make up for that nine year barren spell, eh?
Here are the key points from the game.
1.Petr Čech’s purchase looks like a fantastic piece of business.
The Czech veteran has played three games for Arsenal and won three trophies (via Metro.co.uk). Whilst Barclays’ Asia Trophy in Singapore and Emirates Cup are non-official tournaments, the FA Community Shield is a real piece of silverware. What is more important, Čech has shown in all three matches that he is still more than capable of pulling off the save that makes the difference between a draw and a victory, something that we haven’t had since Jens Lehmann’s departure. His save of Oscar’s free-kick was incredible, something that defines a world-class goalkeepers.
In a way, Arsene Wenger’s first victory over Jose Mourinho wasn’t today’s battle on the pitch but the one over Čech’s transfer.
2.Laurent Koscielny gave a superb performance.
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We should have noticed the worrying signs during the 2014-15 preseason as our defensive errors – especially at set-pieces – happened regularly. If this preseason and the first official match of the season are a reliable indicator of how our campaign will pan out, it’s lookin good. We have conceded just one goal during the summer and our defence looked sharp and well-organized. Today, however, the best man in the defence – after Čech, that is – was Laurent Koscielny. He kept our opponents at bay so Čech’s involvement was limited.
3.Hector Bellerin did well today.
The Spanish youngster did well today given that his direct opponent was one of the best players in the world. Bellerin combined well with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chelsea’s star player couldn’t do much to turn things around. Actually, the only time Hazard had a chance to score was after he had switched to the opposite flank. Well done, Hector!
4.Francis Coquelin proved his worth again…and a bit more.
I was scared today whenever Coquelin made a tackle. With Anthony Taylor as a referee you can’t be too cautious. Luckily for us, Coquelin avoided a second bookable offence and protected the back four. His perfect through ball that was almost Özil-esque in the first half reminded us that Coquelin can contribute to our attack as well.
5.Hoodoos can work both ways with a little help from statistics.
Arsenal hadn’t beaten Chelsea in a previous eight attempts spread over 26 months, Arsenal hadn’t scored a goal since Jose Mourinho’s return to English football and Arsene Wenger hadn’t beaten Jose Mourinho over his previous thirteen attempts (via SkySports.com).
Now, take a look at this:
Arsenal haven’t lost to Chelsea for two games in a row and Chelsea haven’t scored a goal against Arsenal since Diego Costa’s goal in 2:0 victory in October.
6.Olivier Giroud had a mixed cameo.
Giroud’s introduction for Theo Walcott left mixed impressions. His finishing wasn’t good enough as he couldn’t find the target with either of his three attempts. However, he did well in terms of link-up play, he was finding himself in good positions and got at the Chelsea defenders.
The way he held the ball up before picking Aaron Ramsey on the left wing in our counter-attack that Santi Cazorla should have ended with a goal was a text-book example of the player he can be. It’s a good thing that we have two different systems that can work against our opponents though – one with more the mobile and much quicker Walcott and another with Giroud’s excellent link-up play. We have variety now.
7.Alexis Sánchez’ absence today is another reason for optimism…
The fact Arsenal managed to beat the reigning champions despite the absence of our best player Alexis Sánchez can only fill us all with optimism. Don’t get me wrong – that doesn’t mean that Alexis is needless. That just means that the fact we can grind out big victories or victories against big teams even when our Chilean superstar is not around should put a huge grin on our face.
8….while Jack Wilshere’s absence raises questions again.
Jack Wilshere was unavailable for today’s game due to an injury picked in a training session (via Dailymail.co.uk). Jack has had too many injuries for a 23year-old and one has to wonder what’s going to happen with his career. His drive, tenacity, technique and shooting ability has world-class potential but you don’t become a player on the sidelines. We have seen one sad Arsenal story of a big talent destroyed with injuries ending this summer and it would be the worst possible thing if Wilshere is about to follow the route of Abou Diaby.
9.Eden Hazard is a mix of Maria Sharapova, Jose Mourinho and a world-class talent.
After Nacho Monreal had made light contact with his leg, Hazard screamed like Maria Sharapova during her tennis duels. He is one of the best players in the world but his tendency to fall down immediately after contact and to add drama proves he is a real Mourinho-sque player – a world-class player whose behaviour is annoying. It’s no wonder he gets on well with Diego Costa and Jose Mourinho.
10.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown once more why this season should be ‘The One’.
The Ox decided the game with a fabulous strike with his weaker foot. It was a brilliant finish, a piece of sharpness and directness we have missed over the years. He dribbles excellently which forced Azpilicueta into committing a bookable offence and he got back to help Bellerin with the defensive tasks. Usually, the winning goal would have been placed higher on the list of key points but Ox’s goal deserves 10 out of 10!
So, it’s a great start to the season and we can have more optimism after this 1:0 victory than after the 3:0 victory over City last year. There is still room for improvement – our finishing let us down too many times today – but it looks like this team likes to win and players look ready to do everything in order to do so.