Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and star signing Alvaro Morata were the Chelsea fall guys as Arsenal won the Community Shield 4-1 on penalties at Wembley on Sunday.
Goals from Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Arsenal new boy Sead Kolasinac sent the game to a shootout and with both Courtois and Morata limply squandering their spot-kicks, Arsenal won the trophy for the third time in four years.
Courtois blazed his penalty over the bar before substitute Morata, a £58 million capture from Real Madrid, shot wide, allowing Olivier Giroud to seal victory for Arsenal.
“I’m very happy because we won a trophy we wanted to win and because the quality of the game was very good,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the shootout, which followed the new ABBA format.
“Even when we were 1-0 down, we didn’t panic, kept control of our game and came back. The performance is in continuity of what we did at the end of last season.”
Arsenal, embarking upon their first season without Champions League football since 1997, have won on their last nine visits to Wembley, a run stretching back to a victory over Wigan Athletic in the semifinals of the FA Cup in 2014.
Arsene Wenger’s side open the Premier League season at home to 2016 champions Leicester City on Friday, with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea beginning their title defence at home to Burnley the following day.
Moses, sent off after receiving a second yellow card for diving as Arsenal stunned Chelsea 2-1 in May’s FA Cup final, partially atoned by putting the champions ahead early in the second half.
But after Pedro had been shown a straight red card for an ugly challenge on Mohamed Elneny, Kolasinac headed in an 81st-minute equaliser to leave the game 1-1 at fulltime. And in the ensuing penalty kicks, Arsenal won 4-1 on penalties to lift the Community Shield.
ANDREW EKEJIUBA with Agency Report