Arsenal warmed up for the new Premier League season by winning the Community Shield on Sunday with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea after a 1-1 draw. Here AFP Sport looks at five things learnt from the Wembley clash:
Lacazette lacks punch
Signed to add a cutting edge to Arsenal’s collection of gifted but often punchless playmakers, Alexandre Lacazette produced a worryingly anonymous display in his first big test since his £46.5 million ($60.6 million, 51.6 million euros) move from Lyon. Lacazette hit 37 goals in 45 games last season, but there were few signs of that penalty box prowess at Wembley. Showing little physical presence or skill in possession, his only incisive contribution came when he dropped deep to link up with Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck in a move that ended with the France striker firing against a post from just inside the penalty area.
Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette holds up the Community Shield trophy as Arsenal players celebrate victory after the English FA Community Shield football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 6, 2017.
Arsenal won 4-1 on penalties after the game ended 1-1. / AFP PHOTO.
Morata fluffs his lines
Introduced as a 74th minute substitute after surprisingly starting on the bench, Alvaro Morata was greeted with a huge roar as Chelsea fans got their first glimpse of the club record £58 million signing from Real Madrid. But those cheers turned to sighs of frustration when Morata missed a penalty, firing wide of Petr Cech’s goal, in the shoot-out. Brought by Antonio Conte to replace the unwanted Diego Costa, Morata will be expected to provide the goals to fire Chelsea’s twin assault on the Premier League and Champions League. But the 24-year-old Spaniard had only one chance to get off the mark, lofting tamely over the bar from Willian’s pass, before fluffing his lines from the spot.
Understudies make a point
With Alexis Sanchez not match fit after his extended break following Confederations Cup duty with Chile, and Mesut Ozil sidelined with an injury, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi filled the two supporting roles in the Arsenal attack behind Lacazette. Both gave Gunners boss Arsene Wenger food for thought with lively contributions as he ponders his line-up for Friday’s Premier League opener against Leicester. Iwobi, 21, showcased his burgeoning talent when he cleverly worked space to test Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois, while Welbeck’s energy provided the spark for Arsenal’s impressive first half.
Batshuayi misfires again
Benefiting from Costa’s exile after his feud with Blues boss Conte, and Morata’s unexpected place among the substitutes, Michy Batshuayi had an opportunity to stake his claim for a starting berth when Chelsea kick off their Premier League title defence against Burnley on Saturday. It’s safe to say the Belgian forward did little to enhance his chances of being more than a bit-part player for the second successive season. Batshuayi made virtually no impact on the Arsenal defence, strengthening the impression that the 23-year-old, who scored only nine goals last season, has yet to come to terms with English football.
A 32nd minute injury to Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker presented new signing Sead Kolasinac with a chance to impress and he didn’t waste the opportunity, delivering a bullish performance capped by his 82nd minute equaliser. The muscular Kolasinac, a free transfer from Schalke, made his reputation in the Bundesliga as a left-back, but the Bosnia international came off the bench to slot into the Gunners’ three-man central defence. Handling Chelsea’s sporadic attacks in commanding fashion, he looks capable of thriving in the physical Premier League and should give Wenger a versatile defensive option. Not only that he demonstrated an eye for goal with a well-timed run and clinical headed equaliser from Granit Xhaka’s free-kick.