Thibaut Courtois and Alvaro Morata both missed penalties as Arsenal won the Community Shield in a shoot-out following a 1-1 draw at Wembley.
Using the new ABBA system of taking spot-kicks, Arsenal triumphed won 4-1 with Theo Walcott, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud all on target.
With four expected starters absent apiece with Arsenal missing Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey – both injury doubts also for the first league match at home to Leicester City this Friday – Laurent Koscielny and wantaway Alexis Sanchez, who donned his shades and, nevertheless, joined in the cavorting at the end.
Chelsea were also depleted. No Diego Costa, on his extended holiday/exile until he leaves, Eden Hazard, of course, nor Tiemoue Bakayoko while both Alvaro Morata and Antonio Rudiger started on the bench. Both came on – and both made inauspicious starts with Morata, the record signing for a fee of up to £70 million, missing the target completely from the spot in the shoot-out, as did goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, while Rudiger was caught out as Arsenal forced the late equaliser after Victor Moses gave the Blues the lead just after half time. Chelsea’s sense of angst was heightened by the identity of the scorer: Sead Kolasinac who they tried to sign themselves only last January. The Bosnian on a Bosman from Schalke looks like a good acquisition for Arsenal.
The defender’s headed goal came with Chelsea down to 10-men, also, and Conte’s anger will be fuelled by that sense of grievance – he really must feel fate is conspiring against him as he fulminates over the club’s transfer dealings – with Pedro sent off and Willian booked for diving when it could be argued he should have had a penalty instead.
Conte did not hold back in his complaints about referee Bobby Madley, making the point, furthermore, that it was the second Wembley match in a row against Arsenal that Chelsea had finished with 10-men after Victor Moses was sent off during last May’s FA Cup Final. There could be no dispute, however, over that dismissal – Moses received a second yellow card for diving – while, here, Pedro appeared to catch Mohamed Elneny, raking his studs down the back of the midfielder’s calf.
It was from the free-kick for that offence, taken by Granit Xhaka, that Kolasinac was not tracked by Rudiger and was able to power a close-range header past Courtois. Until then it appeared that Arsenal would be Arsenal-y – playing well, creating opportunities, hitting the post through their own record signing, Alexandre Lacazette, who looked lively when he, rarely, managed to break clear of David Luiz’s shackles, before conceding a soft goal.
There was no extra-time. Instead it went straight to penalties – with the teams not simply going one after the other but following the sequence used in tennis – and Arsenal converting all four of those with comfort as Chelsea carelessly missed twice. It was substitute Olivier Giroud who converted the decisive kick which sparked those celebrations. As ever with Arsenal it left them open to the accusation of making too much out of limited success but the manner of this win, a comeback against the champions, more than the win itself, will feel important.