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CHELSEA MISS OUT ON COMMUNITY SHIELD

The Gunners showed what the forthcoming season might hold as they defeated the Blues to lift the Community Shield. The FA Cup champions defeated the league title holders in a penalty shootout 4-1 after the 1-1 score line at Wembley Stadium.

Antonio Conte was without stars John Terry, Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic while Arsene Wenger played striker Alexandre Lacazette. Sead Kolasinac was not in the starting line-up but he came on in the first half when Gary Cahill elbow pushed Per Mertesacker out of action. The former Lyon man had the best chance of the half when he hit the framework.

In the second half, Chelsea scored through Victor Moses immediately after the restart. Brazilian forward Willian sent the cross in but the Arsenal players struggled to deal with it. Cahill sent the ball back in for the wingback to smash it past Thibaut Courtois. Arsenal went close to equalizing when Elneny sent a ball at goal that was intended as a cross as he tumbled but the keeper tipped it over the bar to avoid an accidental goal.

The game took a surprise turn when Pedro was given a straight red card for hacking Mohammed Elneny. The Spaniard is the first player to be sent out in such manner since former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic back in 2012. If you'd have signed up with Netbet before the match you could have had a free bet on there being a red card in the match - click here to sign up if you want to take advantage of any future offers.

Pedro’s challenge was a late one and many agree with the referee’s decision as it went straight into Elneny’s achilles. It was one of the talking points of the game, and obviously influenced the game as the north London side equalised eight minutes before the end of regular time when Xhaka sent in a cross that Kolasinac headed in unmarked to net his first Arsenal goal.

The penalty shootout was done using the new ABBA format. Alvaro Morata and Courtois missed their kicks while Olivier Giroud won it for his team.

For Chelsea, the loss compounds their woes as there are doubts over their ability to retain the Premier League title. Chelsea have struggled in the past to live up to expectations following a league title win. It happened in 2010 when Carlo Ancelotti was at the helms and to Jose Mourinho in 2015.

The Costa situation is making the rounds online as his case is under review. It is widely deemed one that was poorly managed by Conte, complicated by the loss of Romelu Lukaku – who had proven local experience – to Man United against popular expectations. The pre-season was rather chaotic, and with more games to come in the new season, Conte had to wish for a difference from “the Mourinho season.”

Eden Hazard and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko are in recovery for injuries, and it seems Morata would take his time to settle into the new role. David Luiz has risen to be the top defender for the team, and it showed against Arsenal but there is work to be done still. Conte has shown that he is not afraid to tweak his formation or plans from the mainstream – a switch that masterfully delivered the title last season – so there is this unpredictability he retains ahead of the new season. The Community Shield is lost, the league title?

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