A guide to the 2017 FA Community Shield Final
This Sunday, what’s known as English football’s ‘curtain raiser’, the FA Community Shield, is set to be competed between Premier League Champions Chelsea and last season’s FA Cup Winners Arsenal.
It will be the third time the two have faced each other in the competition, with both sides last facing off in 2015, with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain’s strike being the difference between the two sides. 10 years earlier, a Didier Drogba double won the shield for Chelsea despite former Arsenal Captain Cesc Fabregas pulling one back for his old team.
Arsenal killed off any hopes of a Chelsea double last season, with a late Aaron Ramsey header helping the Gunners get their hands on the FA Cup for a record 13th time, putting a dampener on a fantastic campaign for Antonio Conte’s men.
In anticipation for Sunday’s game, Bookmakers.co.uk have created a guide focusing on both opponents, and the history of the competition.
The game will be a taster of what’s to come throughout the 2017/18 campaign, with both sides aiming to compete for the title next season.
Both sides have invested heavily in reinforcements in the close season, with Chelsea breaking their transfer record by signing Spain’s Álvaro Morata for £58M from Champions League Winners Real Madrid, whilst Arsenal have invested heavily (£46M) in French centre forward Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, whose 37 goals last season made him one of Europe’s most sort-after strikers.
Other new additions who could feature in Sunday’s final include Chelsea summer signings Antonio Rüdiger, who was purchased for £29M from AS Roma, and £39.7M man Tiémoué Bakayoko, a Ligue 1 Champion with Monaco last season.
Arsenal’s only other new addition is left back Sead Kolasinac, a Bosnian international who was signed on a free after his contract with Schalke 04 expired. He appeared in the Bundesliga 2016/17 team of the season.
When it comes to winning Community Shields, Arsenal have claimed an impressive 14 titles, third to both Manchester United (21) and Liverpool (15). Chelsea on the other hand are joint second for the most runners up medals, losing seven off their 11 finals with a win percentage of 36.36% compared to Arsenal’s 66.66%-win rate.
Everton in fact have the best win percentage of any team to play in at least 5 finals (81.8%), with their record Goal scorer Dixie Dean also holding the record for most goals scored in Community Shield fixtures (6).
The new Wembley stadium, the venue for Sunday’s game, will be hosting the final for the tenth time. Before 2007, the Community Shield was held at former permanent homes Old Wembley (1974-2000) and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (2001-06).
Before 1974, the Shield was held at several guest venues, including Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, which hosted the final 10 times. The last time the Shield was held in a guest venue was the 2012 clash between Chelsea and Manchester City at Villa Park due to Wembley being used for the Olympic Games.
Despite Arsenal’s superior track record in the competition, the bookmakers still see the Premier League Champions as favourites for Sunday’s game, with some bookmakers having Arsene Wenger’s men out as far as 23/10 to claim the shield, whilst Chelsea are at 11/10.
A win for either side on Sunday could prove the perfect confidence booster ahead of the new Premier League season which begins Friday evening.