Community Shield Preview

The first piece of domestic silverware will be decided on Sunday as Premier League champions Chelsea take on FA Cup holders Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Much the anticipation for the match has been centred around the futures of big name strikers from each squad – Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez.

Costa has been told he is not in Chelsea’s plans and he will not be involved on Sunday, and Conte has been questioned again about the Spaniard – who has threatened legal action.

“For me the situation is simple. I repeat what I have said previously, that the club, the player and the agent knew very well the vision of the player in the summer. They knew very well,” said Costa.

“For sure, I don’t understand why the lawyer has got involved. I don’t understand this, but I repeat the situation is very clear and it has always been the same.”

Whilst Conte was grilled about Costa, Arsene Wenger was equally quizzed about his wantaway striker Alexis Sanchez.

But whist Conte does not want Costa, Wenger does want Sanchez, and he insists he will be staying – even though he has less than 12-months left on his current contract.

“He is a winner. When he goes on the football pitch, he wants to win. He is a guy who loves football. He has advantages and disadvantages on both sides going into a situation like that,” said Wenger.

Wenger is yet to decide whether to play Sanchez at Wembley, as he only returned to training this week.

The Arsenal boss is looking forward to the match and said: “For us, it is just a good opportunity to repeat the performance from the FA Cup final.

“I would say that Chelsea look like they have kept the basis of 95% of their squad. They have added Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is a very strong player, a strong ball-winner, similar to Nemanja Matic, maybe less of a distance runner but more of an impact player – but certainly they will fight for the championship again.

“They have replaced Costa with Morata. Morata is maybe less of a goalscorer than Costa, but he can score and provide as well.”

Conte hopes the game can help them get a little revenge on Arsenal after losing the FA Cup final to their London rivals.

“It was a pity to lose the FA Cup final against Arsenal after a really great season for us,” said Conte.

“Now there is another game. We know very well Arsenal are a strong team. We are expecting a difficult game and we want to start the season with a win.

“I think the friendlies have ended for us. This is an official game and the first trophy of the season. It’s an important game, for sure.”

See below for a run-down on the game, including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder, former player and now super agent Barry Silkman and columnist Andy Gray and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey, together with everything you need to know from the bookies – this week with Ladbrokes’s Cian Carroll.

We also bring you a Football INDEX – One to follow for every match. Football INDEX is a stockmarket game where players, known as Traders, take a position on the “future success” of footballers with real money. CLICK HERE to play now!

Sunday, 6 September
Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Venue: Wembley Stadium

TEAM NEWS: Arsenal will decide on Sunday whether Alexis Sanchez will feature. Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac will make their debuts but Francis Coquelin (ankle), Gabriel (knee) and Jack Wilshere (leg) are ruled out. Despite being suspended domestically Laurent Koscielny will be allowed to play, likewise the same is true of Victor Moses. Eden Hazard and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko miss out through injury, but new boys Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata should feature.
KEY FACT: The FA Cup winners have never gone on to beat the same opponent in the following season’s Community Shield
MATCH ODDS: Chelsea 6/5 Draw 12/5 Arsenal 21/10
ANDY SAYS: Can see this being a good game, open and a few goals for sure – 2-2
SILKY SAYS: A close one, but Chelsea for me to get the win – could be comfortable but will say 2-1
WE SAY: Chelsea will want a win here and they should get it – 3-2
Six of the last 10 finals have seen over 2.5 goals and six have had BTTS so best bet is the 29/10 on Chelsea and Both Teams To Score
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Let’s look at one of the new boys – Alexandre Lacazette, at £3.66 still looks a good buy.

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