Oxlade-Chamberlain fires Arsenal to Community Shield glory

Community Shield, Wembley – Arsenal 1 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 24) Chelsea 0

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the only goal of the game, as FA Cup winners Arsenal beat Premier League title holders Chelsea 1-0 in the Community Shield at Wembley.

The England international, making his first Gunners’ start since 1 March, netted with a fine strike from the edge of the area on his weaker left foot following an expansive move involving Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott.

The victory was manager Arsene Wenger’s first win over Jose Mourinho at the 14th time of asking, as Arsenal set down a marker for the coming Premier League season with a disciplined display at the national stadium.

The Arsenal back five of new goalkeeper Petr Cech, and defenders Per Mertescaker,Laurent Koscielny, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal seemed to gel immediately, and restricted Chelsea to a couple of half-chances through Ramires and Eden Hazard.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal earned Arsene Wenger his first victory over Jose Mourinho
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal earned Arsene Wenger his first victory over Jose Mourinho – PA Sport

Arsenal could have doubled their lead in the last quarter of the match, but Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made fine stops to deny first Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Aaron Ramsey.

Chelsea looked off the pace and off the boil, with Hazard ineffective and Fabregas anonymous in midfield, and up front Loic Remy and second-half substituteRadamel Falcao were well marshalled by the impressive Koscielny and Mertesacker.

KEY MOMENTS

22′ – CHANCE! Ozil’s free-kick is flicked on by Walcott at the near post but his header is straight at Courtois.

24′ – GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea. Ozil feeds Walcott inside, who sets up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain down the right, and he cuts inside Azpilicueta before thumping a left-footed shot past Courtois and into the top corner.

36′ – CHANCE! Remy is just onside down the left and pops the ball up for Ramires, who heads over from about six yards.

39′ – CHANCE! Ramsey drops the shoulder to make room down the left channel, but his first-time shot is into the side netting.

41′ – CHANCE! The Ox gets the ball down the right from Bellerin’s pass and chips the ball up to the far post, but Ivanovic does well to clear under pressure from Monreal, who ends up fouling the Serb.

60′ – CHANCE! Fabregas threads the ball beautifully for Hazard down the right channel but the Belgian blasts the ball over the bar from 10 yards.

68′ – CHANCE! Giroud at full stretch is only able to shoot over from the left channel with his first touch following a fine cross from the right.

74′ – CHANCE! Terry recycles the second ball at the far post and heads back for Zouma, but the substitute’s header is easily caught by Cech.

74′ – SAVE! Oxlade-Chamberlain sees his shot deflect off Ivanovic but Courtois is well behind the ball.

86′ – SAVE! Courtois blocks Cazorla’s dink, and Ramsey’s follow up hits Matic and drifts out for a corner. Cazorla’s set-piece is poor though and Courtois catches.

KEY STATS

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 24th minute strike was Arsenal’s first goal in 506 minutes of football against Chelsea. The last goal before that was Theo Walcott’s consolation in a 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in January 2013.

The team that has won the Community Shield has gone on to win the Premier League on just seven occasions in the last 23 years.

TALKING POINT: Can Chelsea win the league without Diego Costa?

Costa did not make even Chelsea’s matchday squad for the Community Shield after complaining of discomfort in his hamstring – the Spain international has struggled with hamstring injuries in the last couple of years, and if he is sidelined for any length of time Chelsea may struggle for goals.

Petr Cech celebrates Arsenal win at Community Shield.
Petr Cech celebrates Arsenal win at Community Shield. – AFP

His replacement at Wembley, Loic Remy, was caught offside on multiple occasions as he misread the pace of the midfield build-up play of Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas. Chelsea’s third-choice striker Radamel Falcao, who came on for Remy at half-time, is willing and hard-working but looks a shadow of the player that terrorised defences at Porto and at Monaco – will the Blues wilt next season if Costa gets injured?

MAN OF THE MATCH

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) Koscielny and his central defensive partner Per Mertesacker were excellent at Wembley, both players reading the play in front of them perfectly and, by their tight marking of first Remy and then Falcao, nullifying any threat of threaded passes from Fabregas and Hazard. The France international just gets the nod for the bravery of his defending in the final ten minutes, exemplified by a header at full stretch to thwart Kurt Zouma.

PLAYER RATINGS

Arsenal: Cech 7, Bellerin 7, Mertesacker 7, Kosceilny 8, Monreal 7, Coquelin 7, Cazorla 7, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Ozil 6, Ramsey 6, Walcott 6.Subs: Gibbs 6, Arteta6, Giroud 7.

Chelsea: Courtois 6, Ivanovic, 6 Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 7, Matic 6, Fabregas 5, Willian 6, Ramires 6, Hazard 7, Remy 5. Subs: Zouma 6, Oscar 6, Moses 6, Falcao 6.