Today marks the official start of the new English domestic season, with the reigning Premier League champions Chelsea in action against last campaign’s FA Cup winners Arsenal in what is sure to be a thrilling and action-packed encounter. Never one to shy away from confrontation, Blues boss Jose Mourinho has been preparing for this afternoon’s clash in typically confrontational fashion, kicking off a war of words with Arsene Wenger in press conferences leading up to today’s encounter. As a result, expect tempers on the pitch to be running high during what will be the first Community Shield meeting between the two London rivals since 2005.
The Gunners have looked excellent during their pre-season preparations, winning all of their friendly clashes, including a 6-0 thrashing of Lyon and a 1-0 victory at home to German Super Cup winners Wolfsburg. As a result, they will be incredibly confident about their chances of beating the Blues this afternoon, not to mention full of hope that they will be able to give Mourinho’s men a run for their money at the top of the table over the course of the new campaign.
Although they didn’t set the world alight with their performances, Chelsea’s pre-season was far from disastrous, despite the disappointing 4-2 defeat suffered against the New York Red Bulls a week and a half ago. Mourinho has been quick to downplay the importance of pre-season fixtures, however, describing them as “fake”, and today’s chance to obtain yet more silverware has been the only thing on the Portuguese manager’s mind. His side’s starting 11 is set to be little different to that that featured for the vast majority of last season, and they will be looking to pick up where they left off as they aim to kick-start their title defence in fine fashion.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Ozil; Walcott.
Chelsea substitutes: Begovic, Zouma, Mikel, Moses, Cuadrado, Oscar, Falcao.
Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Ramires; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Remy.
Arsenal substitutes: Martinez, Gabriel, Debuchy, Gibbs, Arteta, Iwobi, Giroud.
Courtesy of Goal.com