AR­SE­NAL BAGS FIRST TRO­PHY OF SEA­SON

Wenger’s men edge past Chelsea 4-1 in a penalty shootout

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Lon­don, UK - 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 US$75.6mn cap­ture from Real Madrid, shot wide, al­low­ing Olivier Giroud to seal vic­tory for Ar­se­nal.

Ar­se­nal, em­bark­ing upon its first sea­son with­out Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball since 1997, has won on its 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 English Premier League sea­son at home to 2016 cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City on Fri­day, with An­to­nio Conte's Chelsea be­gin­ning its 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 cham­pion 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 full-time.

As in the cup fi­nal, Ar­se­nal made the more as­sured start and came within inches of open­ing the scor­ing when new sign­ing Alexan­dre La­cazette curled a shot against the post af­ter a slick counter-at­tack.

Merte­sacker forced off

Per Merte­sacker was one of the he­roes of Ar­se­nal's FA Cup win, ex­pertly mar­shalling a badly de­pleted de­fence, but the club cap­tain was to last just 27 min­utes of the teams' re­union.

The gi­ant Ger­man cen­tre­back had to go off af­ter a col­li­sion with Gary Cahill's el­bow left blood stream­ing down his face, giv­ing Bos­nian de­fender Ko­lasinac an op­por­tu­nity to make his of­fi­cial de­but.

As Ar­se­nal re­or­gan­ised, Chelsea be­gan to as­sert it­self, Moses and Pe­dro work­ing Petr Cech be­fore Wil­lian was harshly booked for div­ing af­ter his left foot was clipped by Hec­tor Bel­lerin's knee in­side the box.

Neat foot­work set Alex Iwobi up to curl a shot at Chelsea goal­keeper Cour­tois late in the first half, but within a minute of kick-off in the sec­ond half, Ar­se­nal found it­self be­hind.

Granit Xhaka's at­tempt to clear Wil­lian's cor­ner sent the ball high into the air and when Cahill headed it back into the dan­ger area, Moses darted in be­hind Rob Hold­ing to ap­ply an em­phatic fin­ish.

Wenger threw on Giroud and Theo Wal­cott for La­cazette and Iwobi and saw Xhaka ex­tend Cour­tois with a 30-yard ef­fort.

Pe­dro's dis­missal for catch­ing El­neny's left Achilles with his studs tipped the mo­men­tum in Ar­se­nal's favour and it equalised when Xhaka's cross from the en­su­ing free-kick was headed in by Ko­lasinac.

(AFP)

Ar­se­nal play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter de­feat­ing Chelsea to lift the Com­mu­nity Shield at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in Lon­don, UK, on Sun­day

(AFP)

The Dutch women play­ers cel­e­brate with the tro­phy on Sun­day

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