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5 things to learn from the Community Shield

Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 in the Community Shield
on Sunday, securing the first trophy of the new
English season and setting the stage for the start
of the Premier League next weekend. Here AFP
Sport looks as five key discoveries from the
Wembley clash.
Cech pays early dividends
After enduring years of costly calamities from his
goalkeepers, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
hopes his £10 million pre-season swoop for Petr
Cech will finally bring some much-needed stability
between the posts and the early signs look
promising.
His assured presence radiated confidence to an
often nervous Arsenal back-four and when the 33-
year-old was finally called into action in the 69th
minute he leapt to his right to make his only
significant save as he clawed away a goalbound
Oscar free-kick.
With Chelsea bombarding the penalty area with
crosses in the closing stages, Cech never flinched
and even when he couldn’t claim cleanly his
defenders had been organised well enough by the
Czech to ensure no damage was done.
Wenger ends Mourinho mastery
Wenger’s failure to secure a single victory over
Jose Mourinho in their previous 13 meetings was
becoming yet another weapon for the Chelsea
boss to use whenever he wanted to antagonise
his old rival.
Against that painful backdrop, denying Mourinho
the chance to land another psychological blow
made this an especially sweet success for Wenger,
although he would surely swap it for a win when
the teams next clash in the Premier League on
September 19.
But even more than the victory itself, Wenger will
take heart from the way his fired-up players
showed they have no reason to feel inferior to
the champions, producing the kind of aggressive
yet composed display that suggested they should
make a serious challenge for a first English title
since 2004.
Jury still out on Falcao
Brought on at half-time for the ineffective Loic
Remy, Chelsea’s new striker Radamel Falcao
couldn’t dispel the memories of his lacklustre loan
spell at Manchester United last season.
That distinctly underwhelming year at Old
Trafford wasn’t enough to dissuade Mourinho
from taking the Colombian to Stamford Bridge on
loan from Monaco as back-up for Diego Costa,
who was absent at Wembley after suffering yet
another recurrence of his nagging hamstring
problem.
But, while it’s too early to make a definitive
judgement, Mourinho might have been a little
concerned to see Falcao, no longer the incisive
finisher or smooth mover of old, labouring in vain
to make any impression against the Gunners.
Walcott makes his case
Theo Walcott has never hidden his desire to
assume the lone central striker’s role in Arsenal’s
attack and, finally allowed to move in from his
right wing berth by Wenger, the England
international seized the opportunity to show he
could start instead of the erratic Olivier Giroud
and injury-prone Danny Welbeck.
Although he didn’t net against Chelsea, he still set
the tone for fired-up Arsenal’s spritely display
when he immediately won a crunching tackle on
Nemanja Matic straight from the kick-off.
His potent combination of pace and clever
moment kept Chelsea’s defence on the back foot,
allowing him the time and space to tee up Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain for his goal with a perfectly-
weighted pass across the penalty area.
Ox adds to Wenger’s weapons
Derailed by injuries and inconsistent
performances over the last two years, Oxlade-
Chamberlain — hailed as a future star when he
joined from Southampton four years ago — was
in danger of becoming Arsenal’s forgotten man.
But the England midfielder, still only 21, gave a
well-timed reminder of his talent when he cut
past Cesar Azpilicueta before drilling a superb
left-foot strike into the top corner of Thibaut
Courtois’s goal in the 24th minute.

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