Arsenal v Chelsea

Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Arsène Wenger's side face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in the Community Shield on Sunday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.


Traditional big spenders Chelsea haven't been particularly active in the summer transfer market, and start the 2015/16 campaign with a similar squad to the title winners of last season.

The major additions have been Asmir Begovic, who has replaced Petr Cech, and the loan signing of Radamel Falcao. Despite a disappointing campaign at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho is convinced he can bring the best out of the Colombian, who formed a good partnership with Diego Costa in their Atletico Madrid days.

Didier Drogba and Filipe Luis have joined Cech in departing - although all three were back-ups last season anyway.

All this suggests Mourinho will probably continue with last season's approach, a 4-2-3-1 system which was often devastating on the counter-attack.

His level of attacking intent was usually decided by the positioning of Cesc Fabregas: at the start of the season, the Spaniard was fielded alongside Nemanja Matic, effectively a fifth attacking player alongside the front quartet. However, in the second half of the campaign Fabregas was fielded as a No 10, meaning Chelsea played with two defensive midfielders and a much more boxy formation.

Costa will lead the line and look to run the channels on the break, though the major danger is left winger Eden Hazard, the Premier League's best performer last season. The Belgian is a superb dribbler, using his incredible acceleration to escape the attention of opposition right-backs - although Hector Bellerin coped well in the goalless draw at the Emirates in April as most of Hazard's dribbles were unsuccessful.


Eden Hazard's dribbles v Arsenal

Eden Hazard's dribbles v Arsenal


On the other flank, Ramires or Willian should play a more defensive role, with Matic commanding the centre of the pitch.

Chelsea's backline was fearsome last season, and Thibaut Courtois magnificent between the posts. One way they were occasionally exposed, however, was when left-back Cesar Azpilicueta was drawn up the pitch to stick tight to opponents, with John Terry forced to cover half the width of the pitch behind him - not his speciality at this stage of his career.

When challenging for aerial balls in the penalty box, however, Terry remains fearsome - as he showed in April - and Arsenal must ensure they don't play to his strengths.


John Terry's aerial challenges v Arsenal

John Terry's aerial challenges v Arsenal


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