With the Premier League returning next weekend, champions Chelsea face FA Cup victors – Arsenal in the Community Shield to discover who is the best team of 2016-17 overall.
This match is basically a repeat of the FA Cup final itself when Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0. The Blues however emerged as 3-0 winners of a friendly in China, a fortnight ago. Could that match prove to be an indicator of how things could go?
Arsene Wenger has a near full squad to choose from after Aleix Sanchez resumed training this week. Centre back, Gabriel Paulista is missing with a knee injury. He is also joined on sidelines by Francis Coquelin (ankle) and Jack Wilshire (leg).
Chelsea however got some issues because midfielders, Eden Hazard (ankle) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (knee) are still recovering from injury. Diego Costa is a definite non starter after being told to find a new club.
Both clubs have a player permitted to play, despite having suspensions to serve. For the Gunners, its Laurent Koscielny and as for Chelsea, they have Victor Moses available for this game.
Unusually there are mixed omens for both sides in a match, which is the first Community Shield to contain same teams as of the FA Cup final played three months earlier in the year since 2007.
Sadly, the FA Cup winners have failed to ever beat the same opponents of their FA Cup final win in the Community Shield. For Arsenal fans, that might be disheartening but the last three winners of this cup has come from the reigning FA Cup holders.
Both teams have met at this point of the new season twice before with one win apiece.
Just to add fuel to a delicately poised fixture, the winning Community Shield team has not gone on to win that season’s Premier League since Manchester United did it in 2010-11.
Arsenal however bolster Sanchez, who has scored with both club and country on all but one trip to Wembley Stadium. Just how key could that prove to be towards full time, the longer things stay 0-0?
Tough to call
Taking all of the omens into account and the fact that both managers will want to try and avoid injury to their players, expect to see a match that is tough to call.
I am just going to go for a narrow Arsenal victory purely because of Sanchez’s record at Wembley.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea
Result: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea (Arsenal win 4-1 on penalties)