In what was a hotly contested battle, Arsenal came out as the Community Shield winners after beating Chelsea 4-1 on penalties.
The Blues took the lead through Victor Moses early in the second-half, but it was Arsenal playing the better football and the Gunners were unfortunate to fall behind.
In recent times, Arsene Wenger’s side have collapsed after conceding, yet Arsenal were resilient and they bounced back superbly after Moses’ opener.
They did benefit from a poorly timed Pedro tackle, however, as the Spaniard was sent off and the Gunners’, through new signing Sead Kolasinac, scored off the resulting free-kick.
The game ended as a draw and Arsenal, who scored all their penalties, sealed the tie through the new ABBA spot kick format. But, after 90 minutes and a shootout, which three players were the most impressive and who had an afternoon to forget?
The three best performers
It’s been noted that the Switzerland midfielder has dramatically improved since Arsenal changed their formation, and Xhaka was brilliant, again, against Chelsea.
The midfielder controlled the play and his passing accuracy helped the Gunners dictate proceedings. With the three men behind him, he has security and his lack of defensive mobility is less obvious.
Therefore, the Swiss controller can roam around in the middle of the park and spray passes, something of which he did superbly, ending the game with a 90% pass accuracy.
It was a debut of dreams for the former Schalke left-back as he found the back of the net, heading in Granit Xhaka’s floated cross.
The Bosnian came on as a substitute for the injured Per Mertesacker and he changed the game. His power and directness caused Chelsea problems initially before his precise header stunned the Blues, eventually taking them to their penalty shootout defeat.
Arsene Wenger has often looked towards Aaron Ramsey to partner Granit Xhaka in midfield, yet, Elneny has certainly given his manager a selection headache ahead of their opening game of the season against Leicester.
The Egyptian wasn’t flashy but he worked tirelessly all afternoon and played his part in one of the key moments of the match. Elneny shielded the ball from Pedro, who lunged in with studs showing. The Spaniard was shown a straight red card as a result of the challenge.
The three worst performers
The Spaniard failed to have any real impact on proceeding throughout the first-half, with only one notable effort on goal. He drove at Rob Holding and blew past the Englishman but sent his shot high and wide.
His poor form continued in the second-half with a lazy tackle on Elneny seeing him earn a straight red. It certainly wasn’t Pedro’s finest hour.
The Belgian has been on fire in pre-season but he didn’t put on a great showing against Arsenal. Batshuayi failed to stretch Arsenal’s back three and while his hold-up play was fairly tidy, he often chose a simple pass, failing to penetrate the Gunners defensive line.
To top off a mediocre afternoon for the Belgian, he was first substituted for the likely first-choice striker Alvaro Morata, and then he was seen laughing behind his Spanish teammate during the penalty shootout, something of which infuriated Chelsea fans, as reported by The Telegraph.
It’s not often that goalkeepers get nominated as one of the first few penalty takers, but Courtois did and it’s likely that he won’t get the chance again.
After a poor 90 minutes, the Belgian launched his penalty high over the crossbar, looking as though he thought he was taking a goal-kick. Further still, Courtois failed to get near any of Arsenal’s spot kicks.
Originally posted on The Boot Room.