Premier League fans will get their first glimpse of two of English football’s top teams for 2017-18 on Sunday, as London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea clash at Wembley in the Community Shield.
While lifting the pre-season silverware may well be quite far down the respective clubs’ priority lists, victory over a fellow title challenger could well provide the impetus for the victor to start the new campaign strongly.
Arsenal qualify to play in the clash after lifting the FA Cup last term, while champions Chelsea are undoubtedly the team to beat in 2017-18.
Understandably, punters claiming their BetFred free bet will fancy the Blues to prevail, with Antonio Conte’s men 5/4 favourites going into the capital city clash.
While Diego Costa and Eden Hazard will be absent for the game against the Gunners, Chelsea will still have plenty of menace in attacking areas.
The game will also provide an opportunity for the Stamford Bridge faithful to potentially get a glimpse of some of their summer signings, with the Blues adding Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger to their already star-studded contingent.
The Spanish forward will be expected to pick up where compatriot Costa left off last term, but it could well be Michy Batshuayi that gets the opportunity to start in the Community Shield.
Arsenal fans will have fond memories of beating Chelsea 2-1 in last season’s FA Cup final and will hope for another repeat of that performance and result this time round.
While Arsene Wenger’s men are at longer odds of 27/11 to win, the Gunners supporters will know that their side can beat anyone in English football on their day.
It will be interesting to see whether Alexis Sanchez starts the game as speculation continues to swirl over his future at the Emirates Stadium, with the Chilean returning to pre-season training late also.
One man that the Arsenal fans will be keen to get a glimpse of is Alexandre Lacazette, who joined the Premier League side for a club-record fee over the summer.
The France international has got his name on the scoresheet in pre-season and has been playing in a partnership with Olivier Giroud – the formation that Wenger fields will also be indicative of the club’s potential tactics for 2017-18.
Lacazette’s scoring record in France has been very impressive and the former Lyon man is fancied at odds of 5/1 to be the first goalscorer.