Well it’s that time of year again. And Chelsea are playing in the annual Community Shield match to kickoff the 2015/2016 campaign. But more importantly they’re doing so as champions.
However, starting on Sunday the slate is wiped clean. There is no points to be handed out for success last year. Chelsea will need to prove they are worthy again. And it all starts against Arsenal.
While this match won’t count towards the standings, there is no doubt that both teams will be at their top level of performance. Jose Mourinho hasn’t lost to Arsene Wenger yet, and I doubt he’s willing to start now.
This match will be setting the tone for much of the Premier League season. And the major talking point will be Petr Cech.
The 33-year-old shot stopper swapped blue for red this summer, while remaining in London. His move to Arsenal was widely controversial amongst both sets of fans. And just to rub salt in Chelsea’s gaping wound, they’ll face off in the first match of the season.
However, Jose Mourinho has done a brilliant job of replacing the Czech International, swiftly convincing Asmir Begovic to trade in his starting role at Stoke City for a deputy role at Stamford Bridge. This gives the Blues the best goalkeeping unit in the Premier League once again.
However, other teams are catching on and are not far behind. Arsenal have Cech and Ospina, United have De Gea and Romero and City have Hart and Cabellero. None of those backup keepers are poor, with several boasting enough talent to start on other quality teams. That being said, the pair from West London still reign supreme.
There is no doubting that Cech will earn Arsenal several more points than they would have won without him. In fact I’d put that number at about 12-15 points. This means Arsenal will probably win 4-5 more games than they would have last season without Cech. This will make the title race much more interesting.
Moving on to other areas of the pitch, the matchup between Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard will be an interesting one to watch. The latter of the pair was just compared to Cristiano Ronaldo by his manager.
Mourinho expressed how Hazard had a better year and won more silverware than the Portuguese international. While this is purely subjective, it means that the Belgian is starting to draw these type of comparisons.
Alexis Sanchez hasn’t been quiet either. The Chilean international had a strong first season in the BPL, earning a PFA Player of the Year nomination. The 26-year-old also won the Copa America with Chile, with Sanchez himself scoring the winning penalty in his home country to lift his squad over Argentina in the final.
The matchup between these two will largely determine the outcome of the game. Both have the ability to put the team on their shoulders and deliver magic for their squad. Either player can take the reigns and largely determine the outcome of the match. It’s just a matter of who steps up on Sunday.
No matter what the outcome of the match, either team will like their chance. Furthermore, both clubs should feel prepared to challenge for the title. While this weekend will provide a short sample size for a long and entertaining Premier League season, we will learn a lot about both teams and their ability to go the distance.
No points will count towards the Premier League, but all eyes will be on Wembley Stadium this weekend for a London Derby to kick off the season. In March, Chelsea’s triumph over Tottenham made Wembley blue. With the right performance on Sunday, Wembley will remain blue.
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