Courtois, Morata gift Arsenal Community Shield in Wembley showdown

AFP
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and star signing Alvaro Morata are the Chelsea fall guys as Arsenal wins the FA Community Shield 4-1 on penalties at Wembley.
AFP
Reuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) lifts the FA Community Shield with goalkeeper Petr Cech following a 4-1 penalty shootout victory over Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London on August 6, 2017.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and star signing Alvaro Morata were the Chelsea fall guys as Arsenal won the FA 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 58-million pound (US$75.6 million) capture from Real Madrid, shot wide, allowing Olivier Giroud to seal victory for Arsenal.

Arsenal, embarking upon its first season without UEFA 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 opens the English Premier League season at home to 2016 champion Leicester City on Friday, with Antonio Conte's Chelsea beginning its title defense 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 equalizer 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.

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

The giant German center-back 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 reorganized, 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 kickoff 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.

Elneny squandered a presentable chance for Arsenal by slicing wide and then sent Courtois scrambling with a mishit cross from wide on the right.

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 favor and it equalized when Xhaka's cross from the ensuing free-kick was headed in by Kolasinac.


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