By Chris Harris at Wembley
A special strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was enough to win the Community Shield for Arsenal at Wembley.
The England international cut inside Cesar Azpilicueta in the 24th minute and arrowed a shot into the top corner past Chelsea goalkeeper Thibault Courtois.
It was a goal to grace the occasion and it gave Arsenal their fifth straight victory in pre-season - and by far their most significant.
Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and Kieran Gibbs could have added a second but Chelsea probably had the better chances after Oxlade-Chamberlain's opener. Ramires squandered a free header, Eden Hazard fired over and Petr Cech denied Oscar.
Arsenal have waited a while for a win over Chelsea and, although the Community Shield is no substitute for major honours, this victory will only bolster the self-belief in Arsène Wenger's squad as they embark on a new campaign.
Premier League points will be at stake next week against West Ham United. Arsenal could not have wished for better preparation.
SETTING THE SCENE
Cech's decision to swap the blue of Chelsea for the red of Arsenal has been one of the transfer stories of the summer. Fitting then that the Czech keeper's debut came against his old team.
Cech was one of two changes from the Arsenal side that started the FA Cup final at Wembley 64 days earlier. Oxlade-Chamberlain was the other - he stepped in for Alexis, who is due back in training this week after his post-Copa America break.
This was Arsenal's 21st appearance in the Community Shield; they last faced Chelsea in this fixture a decade ago. Cech and Cesc Fabregas were the only two names on the teamsheets in 2005 and 2015 - and both have since switched sides.
The Gunners went into this game on the back of an impeccable pre-season, winning four games and scoring 14 times. Chelsea - without the injured Diego Costa - were chasing a double of sorts after their women's team won the FA Cup at Wembley 24 hours earlier.
Arsenal almost caught Chelsea cold in the first minute when a dawdling Ramires was dispossessed. That hardly set the tone though - the opening quarter of the match was a rather tentative, scrappy affair with neither side finding its rhythm.
Santi Cazorla, stationed on the left with Ramsey preferred in the centre, was at the heart of much of Arsenal's better work, while Fabregas dictated Chelsea's forward play. The former Gunners captain went down in the box after a collision with Per Mertesacker but his penalty shout was ignored.
Chelsea looked to isolate Hector Bellerin on Arsenal's right and they had some joy there. Willian played a ball inside the Spanish full back to Loic Remy in the 10th minute but the danger was cleared. Willian then found space down the same flank but a vital intervention from Francis Coquelin saved the Gunners.
Arsenal started to raise their tempo - Cazorla and Mesut Ozil linking up twice in quick succession - before Walcott got across his man to test Courtois with a header from Ozil's clipped free-kick.
Walcott was getting into the game more and it was his pass that set up Arsenal's goal in the 24th minute. Oxlade-Chamberlain did the rest with aplomb, cutting inside Azpilicueta and flashing a shot beyond Courtois. A stunning strike from a player who has stood out in pre-season.
Ramires should have levelled for Chelsea when he sent a free header over the bar from Willian's cross - again from Arsenal's right flank - but Arsenal had chances too as the first half drew to its conclusion.
Ramsey fired into the side-netting from a narrow angle and Nacho Monreal was denied by Branislav Ivanovic's clearing header after Oxlade-Chamberlain stood up a cross from the right.
Chelsea started the second half strongly and forced Arsenal back.
Radamel Falcao and Oscar came on to give Wenger something to ponder, and Falcao was picked out by a fine ball over the top from Fabregas. Laurent Koscielny got back to cover and Cech gathered the loose ball.
The champions should have equalised on the hour mark when Falcao slid a ball through to Eden Hazard. The Footballer of the Year had just Cech to beat but shot wildly over - although Koscielny deserves credit for getting back to distract the Belgian.
Wenger reacted to Chelsea's increasing control by making a change - Giroud for Walcott. The Frenchman was immediately into the action, sending a tough chance over at full stretch after Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross.
Giroud had a better opening with 20 minutes left, getting underneath Ramsey's cut-back, but Chelsea were still a danger and Cech did superbly to push away Oscar's dipping free-kick with both hands.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's final act was to test Courtois with a shot from the edge of the box before he made way for Mikel Arteta. The captain took up a position in front of his back four in preparation for a late push from the champions.
That push did come but Arsenal coped well and had chances to make the game safe.
Ramsey led a break and picked out Cazorla but he was denied at point-blank range by Courtois, and the Chelsea keeper thwarted Kieran Gibbs in stoppage time.
- Mertesacker (C)
- Oxlade-Chamberlain 77 Goal!
- Coquelin Yellow Card
- Ozil 81
- Walcott 65
- Gibbs 81
- Arteta 77
- Giroud 65
- Azpilicueta 69 Yellow Card
- Terry (C) 81
- Santos do Nascimento 53
- Borges Da Silva
- Remy 46
- Zouma 69
- Moses 81
- dos Santos Emboaba Junior 53
- Garcia 46