5 Debuts We Could See in Sunday’s Community Shield
Arsenal take on Chelsea in the FA Community Shield on Sunday, less than a week before the start of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.
Whilst some class this match as nothing more than a glorified friendly, these two rivals will be wanting to start the season with some silverware of sorts.
The Gunners beat Chelsea in the final English game of last season, the FA Cup final – whilst the Blues are the defending Premier League champions.
Both sides have been active in the summer, though more players had been expected to sign for Wenger’s side than they have so far. Here are five players we could see making their debut on Sunday:
Arsenal fans have been calling for a world class striker for a number of years and Arsène Wenger may have granted them their wish with the club record signing of Alexandre Lacazette. The 26-year-old has been prolific in Ligue 1 with Lyon over the past three seasons, amassing a stunning 76 goals in 95 appearances. Lacazette has bags of pace and is good at timing his runs to latch onto through balls. With the likes of Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla capable of doing just that Arsenal may have a real goal threat on their hands.
The only slight doubts Gunners fans may have at this point are Lacazette’s record in the Champions League; five goals in 23 appearances and that he only has 11 caps for France (1 goal) – the manager prefers Olivier Giroud. Should the Frenchman start on Sunday you can expect him to give Gary Cahill and David Luiz a hard time.
2. Álvaro Morata
Chelsea broke their transfer record this summer when they brought in Álvaro Morata from Real Madrid. The 24-year-old has not held down a regular spot at either Real Madrid or Juventus in the past and the money the Blues spent on the Spaniard this summer has been based on his impressive cameo appearances. Morata scored regularly for Real Madrid when given the opportunity under Zinedine Zidane last season but it will be interesting to see how he delivers if he starts 30+ league appearances this season.
Morata is a fox in the box, capable of scoring with both feet and his head. With Diego Costa announcing earlier in the summer that his manager told him he wasn’t part of his future plans the new signing can expect to be a regular in the side. He will face competition from Michy Batshuayi though, albeit if the Belgian only made one Premier League start following a big move last summer. Álvaro Morata has lacked playing time in pre-season so there’s no guarantee he’ll start but I would expect to see him on the Wembley turf at some point.
3. Sead Kolašinac
The only other signing Wenger has made so far this summer if the free signing of Sead Kolašinac from Schalke 04. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international made the 2016-17 Bundesliga Team of the Season last season and is capable at playing both centre-back or left-back. With Gabriel Paulista and Shkodran Mustafi both expected to miss Sunday’s game, Kolašinac could slot in as part of the back three, or even play the left wingback role where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played in last May’s FA Cup final.
If Sead Kolašinac doesn’t start the game he’s an option to the Gunners boss as a substitute to sure up the defence if they’re hanging onto a late lead.
4. Antonio Rüdiger
Antonio Conte splashed out £29 million for German international Antonio Rüdiger earlier this summer so one has to think that price tag will mean he’ll be a starter by the end of the season. With John Terry and Kurt Zouma both departing, the 24-year-old is competing with the likes of César Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill for that starting role as early as Sunday.
Is David Luiz as good as much of the media made of the Brazilian last season? I’m not so convinced whilst Gary Cahill is prone to mistakes – these are two positions Rüdiger could fill, though the right wingback role may be where he features on Sunday with Victor Moses often substituted last season.
5. Willy Caballero
Antonio Conte used Asmir Begović in FA Cup and EFL Cup games last season and with Willy Caballero replacing the departing Bosnian it wouldn’t be out of this world if the Argentine is handed his debut on Sunday. He has experience of the English game having joined from Manchester City where he saw a lot of action replacing Claudio Bravo for much of the second half of last season.