Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1
Arsenal won 4-1 on penalties.
As a spectacle to entertain a crowd of 83,325, this Community match was instantly forgettable.
The first half was so tame!
Maybe the tamest I’ve ever seen at Wembley.
But I’ll always remember how the penalty shoot-out looked.
Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois are good friends who worked closely together at Chelsea.
Since the penalties were being taken one by one by players who had to wait before walking from the halfway line, the two keepers were together and talking to each other.
It looked as if Cech had said, “Why don’t you take one?”
So this gangly Belgian giant in a yellow jersey, with yellow shorts and socks, placed the ball on the spot and smashed it high over the crossbar. I won’t say he almost hit the scoreboard but it was more like a goal-kick than a spot-kick.
Of course the rules don’t allow to Cech to invite his friend to beat him from the spot. That can’t happen because the designated penalty-takers must be given to the referee before the shoot-out begins.
Arsenal almost scored a very early goal after a slick exchange between Oxy and Iwobi.
Then Bellerin started a raid on the right flank. When he found Lacazette infield the new striker gave a sweet pass to Welbeck, took the return ball and hit a sidefoot shot that came back off the post.
Alexandre Lacazette is a nimble poacher who sniffs out chances in the box.
His link-play looks decent and that’s important when the team plays like Arsenal do.
After 32, Mertesacker went off with a head injury and Kolasinac replaced him.
On 35 we had a very good view when Willian went down in the box and I shouted, “Dive!”
Ref Bobby Madley booked him. But he was just touched by Bellerin.
Late in the first half we saw an audacious back-header by David Luiz to his keeper, while he was contesting possession with the tenacious Welbeck. World class. It’s no secret I love the guy. But if anybody else had tried that, it would have been suicidal stupidity.
HT score : 0-0.
When a Xhaka clearance went vertical, Cahill won the dropping ball and hit it back into the box, where Victor Moses jabbed past Cech.
On 66, it was 1-0 to Chelsea.
Then Courtois made a tremendous save from Xhaka, tipping his rocket shot round the post
Then the masked Pedro made a shocking tackle on Elneny. After a long delay while Pedro was on the ground, Madley gave him a red card.
So Chelsea were now 1-0 up with 10 men.
Within seconds, Xhaka clipped a central free kick towards the left side of the box with pinpoint accuracy and Kolasinac headed in beautifully for 1-1. His perfect placement gave Courtois no chance.
Around that 82nd minute we’d seen both a red card and the equaliser.
After that the momentum was with Arsenal.
Then we saw the new ABBA penalty shoot -out,
Walcott, Monreal, Oxlade and Giroud all took good penalties.
Arsenal deserved to win this Community Shield, no question.