Premier League holders Chelsea will look to start their season on a high when they take on Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday. The Blues steamrolled the Gunners by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline in their recent friendly in Beijing, but Antonio Conte will be expecting a much stiffer test with their London rivals likely to play a much-experienced backline.
Thibaut Courtois was at the end of a couple of defeats in the Blues’ pre-season of tour of Asia, and he will be up for a revenge against the Gunners, who beat them to the FA Cup title last term.
The backline is pretty much sorted out with Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill set to take up the central defensive duties whilst Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso will feature in the right wing-back and left wing-back roles respectively. Moses was sent off in his previous competitive fixture at Wembley but he is still available for the Community Shield which is treated as a friendly by the FA.
Moving forward, Cesc Fabregas will share the midfield duties alongside N’Golo Kante with Nemanja Matic no longer at the club whilst Tiemoue Bakayoko continues to recover from his knee problem.
The front line is likely to see drastic changes from last season with both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa set to miss the Wembley showpiece. While Hazard is still recovering from his ankle injury sustained on international duty, Costa is more or less expected to leave Stamford Bridge after he was told by Antonio Conte that he is not part of the first-team plans.
Summer signing Alvaro Morata is likely to start from the bench following his struggles against Inter Milan in pre-season, and this could see Michy Batshuayi take up the centre-forward role with Willian and Pedro slotting in the wider positions.
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