Tomorrow, what’s known as English football’s ‘curtain raiser’, the FA Community Shield, is set to be competed between last season’s Premier League Champions Chelsea and FA Cup Winners Arsenal.
It will be the third time the two have faced each other in the Community Shield, with both sides last facing each other in 2015, with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain’s strike being the difference between the two sides. A decade earlier, a Didier Drogba double won the shield for Chelsea despite former Arsenal Captain Cesc Fabregas pulling one back for his old team.
Arsenal killed any hopes of a Chelsea double last season, with an Aaron Ramsey header helping the Gunners get their hands on the FA Cup for a record 13th time, putting a dampener on a fantastic campaign for Antonio Conte’s men.
Ahead of tomorrow’s game, Bookmakers.co.uk have created a guide focusing on both opponents, and the history of the competition.
The contest will be a taster of what’s to come throughout the new campaign, with both sides aiming to compete for the title this season.
Both sides have invested heavily in reinforcements during the summer, with Chelsea breaking their transfer record by signing Spain’s Álvaro Morata for £58M from Champions League Winners Real Madrid, whilst Arsenal have invested heavily (£46M) in French centre forward Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, whose 37 goals last season made him one of Europe’s most sort-after strikers.
Other new additions who could feature in Sunday’s final include Chelsea summer signings Antonio Rüdiger, who was purchased for £29M from AS Roma, and £39.7M man Tiémoué Bakayoko, a Ligue 1 Champion with Monaco last season.
Arsenal’s only other new addition is left back Sead Kolasinac, a Bosnian international who was signed on a free after his contract with Schalke 04 expired. He featured in the Bundesliga 2016/17 team of the season.
When it comes to winning Community Shields, Arsenal have claimed 14 titles, third to both Manchester United (21) and Liverpool (15). Chelsea are joint second for the most runners up medals, losing seven off their 11 finals with a win percentage of 36.36% compared to Arsenal’s 66.66%-win rate.
Everton in fact have the best win percentage of any team to play in at least 5 finals (81.8%), with their record Goal scorer Dixie Dean also holding the record for most goals scored in Community Shield fixtures (6).
The new Wembley stadium, the venue for Sunday’s game, will be hosting the final for the tenth time. Before 2007, the Community Shield was held at former permanent homes Old Wembley (1974-2000) and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (2001-06).
Before 1974, the fixture was held at a number of guest venues, including Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, which hosted the final 10 times. The last time the Shield was held in a guest venue was the 2012 clash between Chelsea and Manchester City at Villa Park due to Wembley being used for the Olympic Games.
Despite Arsenal’s superior track record in the competition, the bookmakers still see the Premier League Champions as favourites for Sunday’s game, with some bookmakers having Arsene Wenger’s men out as far as 23/10 to claim the shield, whilst Chelsea are at 11/10.
A win for either side on Sunday could prove the perfect confidence booster ahead of the new Premier League season which begins Friday evening when Arsenal take on Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.