Arsenal claimed the first piece of silverware after prevailing over London rivals Chelsea on penalties in today’s Community Shield fixture at Wembley.
Birthday boy Hector Bellerín, Danny Welbeck and in particular Alex Iwobi – on his first Premier League start – were excellent as the Gunners were victorious in a must-win game to keep their title chances alive.
Gunners back in tandem with stylish victory
Following three games without a win, it was imperative that Arsenal started quickly and effectively took the game to their opponents on Saturday – an Everton side buoyed by their 2-0 home victory over Chelsea last time out, sealing their passage into the FA Cup semi-finals as a result.
They did just that, despite plenty of news rumbling before kick-off that a section of the travelling supporters might possibly stage a protest at both the club – in particular major shareholder Stan Kroenke – and current manager Arséne Wenger, who the media have continuously said is under an increasing amount of pressure to succeed in a relatively unpredictable league campaign, as their best opportunity to win the title is seemingly slipping away from their grasp.
A first-half brace courtesy of first-team debutant Marcus Rashford – as well as a deflected strike from Ander Herrera was enough to see United past their old foes once again, in a game that promised much more.
Gunners underwhelm as United take full advantage
Arsenal succumbed to defeat for the second time in a matter of days during a five-goal thriller at Old Trafford, despite the hosts clearly fielding a weakened side due to an unhealthy plethora of injuries to key first-team players.
Marcus Rashford – who scored two on his senior debut in midweek – doubled up with his first Premier League brace, against one of the league’s best goalkeepers in Petr Cech.
This afternoon, Arsenal managed something no other side have done this term – beat Leicester in both home and away fixtures. Second-half strikes from the substitute duo of Theo Walcott and the returning Danny Welbeck helped seall all three points in what was a must-win game for the hosts.
An intriguing, fast-paced start
It was clear that, despite the early 12pm kick-off, both sides were raring to start and eager to prove their respective title credentials at the Emirates – buoyed by two sets of supporters who’ve been in contrasting voices all season. Arsenal were tipped as favourites to lift the trophy in May, for the first time in over a decade, whilst Leicester don’t have the pedigree, nor the experience, attached to a ‘title-winning squad’, especially as they narrowly avoided relegation last term.