Arsenal vs Chelsea: Community Shield predictions, betting tips and preview

Fabregas Sanchez
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The traditional curtain raiser for the new English football season will take place in symmetry with last year’s closer. Chelsea will face Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley, after the Gunners beat the Premier League champions in the FA Cup final.

Both clubs have improved markedly in the transfer window so far. Arsenal have brought in a striker, a position Arsene Wenger has been told to improve upon for years. Alexandre Lacazette has joined from Lyon in a club record £50million deal, and after failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in Wenger’s 21-year reign, his arrival could be the catalyst for something of a revival.

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Diego Costa looks set to leave Chelsea, and Antonio Conte has reacted by signing Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, also for a club record fee. The Blues have also improved their defence with the signing of Antonio Rudiger from Roma. Rudiger, 24, is the perfect man to improve Conte’s three-man defence, because he is versatile enough to play on the right and left side of the back line.

In reality, it is tough to predict this game because there is no genuine form to look at and work off. Chelsea were expected to ease past Arsenal in the FA Cup final, but Wenger’s men had a point to prove and overcame them. But Chelsea are stronger on paper, and their new signings will only add to that. Tiemoue Bakayoko, the Monaco midfielder, is an upgrade on the likely to depart Nemanja Matic in midfield. He will combine with N’Golo Kante and provide a box-to-box more energetic option. The strongest element of Chelsea’s team has become even more so.

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Chelsea only lost five Premier League games last season, and they were strong throughout the team. The 3-1 win over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge epitomised this, because they just edged away with the game, but the Gunners won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium in the first meeting of the campaign.

But the FA Cup final was the biggest reference point, and Arsenal won that because they fought harder for every ball. They looked fitter, and that is where the key to this game lies. Whoever is in better shape will win the game.

Chelsea are favourites for this game, but Arsenal will likely match them in terms of their system. They both play a variation of 3-4-3, and whoever settles into their stride earliest will win. Both sides are now strongest in attack, whether Alexis Sanchez plays remains to be seen, but Mesut Ozil will create a supply line to Lacazette, just like Eden Hazard will for Morata. Backing Chelsea to win in both halves at 12/5 with Betfair is a great betting tip, but betting on over 2.5 goals and a Blues win at 2/1 with Betfair is what we are recommending.

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Key battle – Alexandre Lacazette vs Antonio Rudiger

Watching the new signings will be rather interesting because both suit the needs of their teams perfectly, as already mentioned. Rudiger was part of the second best defence in Italy last season, with Roma conceding just 38 goals. He is strong and has great positional sense, but that will be crucial if he comes up against Lacazette directly, because the France star’s movement and finishing ability are his strengths. Reducing the amount of space in behind will be crucial to stopping him, and Conte has played a deep defensive line to counter this with different opposition in the past.

Predicted line ups:

Arsenal: Cech; Koscielny, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Bellerin; Ramsey, Xhaka, Sanchez, Ozil; Lacazette.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso, Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Hazard, Pedro; Morata

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