Arsenal triumph as Wenger finally gets one over Mourinho
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cracking first-half goal enough to beat Chelsea in Community Shield
Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fires home a left-foot shot in the FA Community Shield against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA
Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0
It has taken 14 attempts, spread over 11 years, and in the most difficult moments Arsene Wenger has looked like he would cheerfully throttle Jose Mourinho with his own tie, but finally Arsenal’s manager knows what it feels like to get one over his bete noire. His team played without any sense of inferiority, which has not always been the case when these sides have met, and it should do Arsenal the power of good to break a run that has hurt Wenger far more than he would probably confess.
They had to withstand some concerted pressure during parts of the second half but it was a strangely subdued Chelsea performance and Petr Cech quickly showed his new set of supporters the value of his signing. Cech controlled Arsenal’s penalty area in a way that has often been beyond his predecessors and it was rare to see much carelessness in Mourinho’s team both before and after the decisive moment when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain speared a shot into the top corner of Thibaut Courtois’s net.
The goal arrived midway through the first half and, to put into context Mourinho’s supremacy over Wenger in recent years, it was the first time Arsenal had scored against these opponents in 506 minutes of play.
Arsenal had not led against Chelsea since December 2010 but they passed the ball with much greater incision and fluency, particularly in the opening 45 minutes, and might have added more goals in the final exchanges when Courtois kept out Santi Cazorla and then the substitute, Olivier Giroud.
For Mourinho, it was a galling way to start the season and Chelsea plainly have issues in attack, with no guarantee Diego Costa will be fit for their opening Premier League game against Swansea next weekend.
Costa was missing here because of the recurring hamstring problems that prematurely ended his involvement last season and if that is going to be a regular issue over the next 10 months Chelsea could be in trouble.
His replacement, Loic Remy, was taken off after a first half in which he strayed into offside territory on four occasions. Radamel Falcao was given the second half to impress but if the Colombian is to reinvent himself as a grade-A centre forward there was little evidence of it in this 45 minutes.