Alvaro Morata missed a penalty on his Chelsea debut as Arsenal won an uncharacteristically feisty Community Shield in a shootout at Wembley.
Record signing Morata – a late substitute – dragged a poor effort wide moments after goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had blazed over in a first use of a new penalty shootout system.
Premier League champions Chelsea had gone ahead through Victor Moses, before Pedro was sent off for an ugly lunge on Mohamed Elneny.
From the resulting free-kick, debutant Sead Kolasinac headed the Gunners level to take the match to penalties.
The shootout – the first in English football to follow the ABBA format – saw Chelsea miss back-to-back penalties to allow Olivier Giroud to win the match from the spot.
The winner takes it all in ABBA format…
Level at 90 minutes, the match went straight to penalties, which were taken in the ABBA format.
Designed to prevent a perceived advantage to the team going first, the system sees team A take the first kick followed by team B – before team B go again. Team A then get two successive penalties, a little like the tie-break in tennis, and so on until there is a winner.
Confused? You are not alone as not even the players seemed to understand.
After Gary Cahill’s opener for Chelsea was cancelled out by Theo Walcott, Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal stepped forward, correctly, to take his kick. However he was waved back by several of his Gunners team-mates, who seemed confused by the new format.
Monreal scored, before Courtois and Morata both missed horribly, to the delight of the Arsenal fans behind the goal.
That allowed first Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Giroud to score and start the Arsenal celebrations.
Day of decisions
The Community Shield can be a rather tame occasion, more pre-season friendly than kick-start, but referee Bobby Madley was kept busy in a fiercely contested affair.
Chelsea were first to be upset when winger Willian was booked for a dive in the first half as he went down under a challenge from Hector Bellerin. Replays suggested that the Brazilian was tripped by his own feet, but also that Bellerin may have made contact beforehand.
If that was a tricky call for Madley, his decision to send off Pedro with 10 minutes remaining was more straightforward. The forward was late and high on Elneny, raking the Arsenal man’s Achilles with his studs.
Antonio Conte was angered by the decision though, and by his team’s marking from the free-kick as they let Kolasinac head home from six yards out.
Lacazette edges day of debuts
Until the red card, it looked like being victory for the champions, who shook off a sleepy first 20 minutes to have the better of the game.
They deservedly took the lead in the opening minute of the second half as Granit Xhaka’s dreadful clearance from a corner was headed back in by Gary Cahill for Moses to finish with opportunism.
It looked a long way back from there for Arsenal, especially as they were without key duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, left out of the squad altogether by Arsene Wenger.
Sanchez only returned to training on Tuesday after illness, having taken an extended break following his participation in the Confederations Cup with Chile, while Ozil picked up a minor knock in training in the week and was not risked.
In his absence, the focus was on record signing Alexandre Lacazette, the only debutant to start for either side. The £46.5m man faded after having the best moment of the first period, wrapping a shot against the post after a flowing counter-attack, which he started in his own half.
An out-and-out striker who doesn’t stray far from the penalty area, he showed enough to suggest that he will add a focal point to the Arsenal attack – particularly when partnered by Ozil and Sanchez.
Morata, on the other hand, had a debut to forget for Chelsea.
The £60m signing from Real Madrid was left on the bench until the 74th minute and, after replacing the underwhelming Michy Batshuayi, wasted his only sight of goal by shooting over.
He then dragged a poor penalty wide in the shootout to hand Arsenal a chance they took.
Morata, and Conte, will take solace from the fact that the last team to win the Premier League title after winning the Community Shield were Manchester United back in 2010.
EnterGhana.com | Credit: 3news.com