Following an intensive and challenging pre-season in the Far East, Chelsea contest the Community Shield against Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday, August 6th. The Community Shield is commonly referred to as the curtain raiser to the new season and is contested between the Premier League winners against the FA Cup winners. The match will be available to UK viewers on BT Sport and ITV.
Following confusion regarding his suspension, Victor Moses is eligible to play in this fixture since it is a friendly. So, expect an identical starting eleven that played last season. Cesar Azpilicueta may be reverted to the right-wing back position during the latter stages of the game. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen will by vying for some minutes during the match. Rudiger, summer signing from A.S. Roma, has experienced a short pre-season and only made his first start of the Club in the 2-1 defeat to Inter since being given an extended break following the Confederations Cup. Expect Rudiger to feature at some point as well as potentially Andreas Christensen who will be looking to make an impact. Conte will surely have on his mind the opening fixture against Burnley. Six substitutes can be made, remember, since Sunday is classified as a friendly.
Despite Bakayoko recovering quicker than expected, it is unlikely that the former A.S. Monaco midfielder will be risked. Pedro should be fit enough to feature following his facial injury, coincidentally coming against Arsenal in a 3-0 pre-season victory in Beijing. Record signing Alvaro Morata is expected to feature from the bench as Conte questioned his fitness. Batshuayi has had an impressive pre-season so should start ahead of the 24-year-old Spanish international.
In a similar case to Victor Moses, Laurent Koscielny is eligible for this fixture so will be suspended for Arsenal’s opening fixtures against Leicester and Stoke City. It remains to be seen who Wenger selects alongside the Frenchman. Rob Holding is virtually assured of a place due to his impressive rise to form when Wenger alternated to a 3 man defence following an embarrassing and disjointed performance at Selhurst Park. Sead Kolasinac will most likely make his debut and it is unknown who will play at RWB- Hector Bellerin or Chelsea target Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chamberlain scored the winner in the 2015-16 Community Shield match between the two teams. Undoubtedly, Alexis Sanchez is Wenger’s key man and it is likely, the Chilean will feature from the bench. Alexis only returned to pre-season training today (Tuesday) due to featuring in the Confederations Cup and illness. Whilst Alexis may only feature from the bench, Mesut Ozil and £52 million striker Alexandre Lacazette should be in the starting eleven.
Expected Chelsea team – (3-4-3 formation): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro.