Antonio Conte ‘s debut season in English football could not have gone much better – the Premier League title, a record-breaking 30 victories and a new contract as a reward at the end of it.
It was a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal last September which really turned their campaign around, and the 3-4-3 system adopted by Conte to shore things up in that match has proved so successful that a lot of other teams – Arsenal included – have since copied it.
Chelsea have only played three summer friendlies and the last two of those have ended in defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, with the 3-0 triumph over Arsenal in Beijing their only taste of victory since the final day of the Premier League season.
It is a Wembley meeting with the other side from North London which will be Chelsea’s more immediate concern, though, as they look to lift the Community Shield for just the fifth time and the first since 2009.
Recent form: WLL
The Gunners’ fifth-place finish in the Premier League means that they will be playing in the Europa League during the upcoming campaign, and they will likely face another fierce battle for a top-four spot during what is expected to be an even more competitive season.
Pre-season has been something of a mixed bag for the Gunners, with a penalty shootout victory over Bayern Munich and a 5-2 trouncing of Benfica being slightly tarnished by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in Beijing before losing to Sevilla in their final warm-up match.
Arsenal dubiously won the Emirates Cup for a fifth time despite that defeat to Sevilla, and this weekend gives them another chance to get their hands on silverware before the real work begins. The Gunners have won the Community Shield 14 times in the past, including two of the last three.
Above all, though, it will be one final run-out for the players to get up to speed before Arsenal kick off the new Premier League season at home to Leicester City next Friday, and with Liverpool and Chelsea (again) awaiting within their opening five games they cannot afford to make a slow start to the campaign.
Recent form: WWWLWL
Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are expected to be fit after ankle and muscular problems respectively, while summer signings Kolasinac and Lacazette are in line for their competitive debuts.
The Gunners will be without Francis Coquelin , though, and Shkodran Mustafi is a doubt having also featured in the Confederations Cup earlier this summer.
Chelsea will also be missing a number of key players as Eden Hazard continues his recovery from a broken ankle and Bakayoko has not recovered from a knee injury in time.
Pedro is also a doubt having suffering multiple fractures to his face in the pre-season meeting between these two sides, while Costa remains in exile and is not expected to be named in Chelsea’s squad for the game.
Club-record signing Morata should start, although a mixture of injury problems and the pre-season form of Michy Batshuayi means that the Spaniard may be deployed in a wider role.
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian , Morata, Batshuayi.
Head To Head
These two sides met in a pre-season friendly just 15 days before this contest, with Chelsea running out 3-0 winners courtesy of goals from Willian and Batshuayi (2).
The Blues have had the edge in this fixture in recent years too, losing just seven of their last 34 competitive meetings across all competitions and winning 19 in that time.
However, it was Arsenal who claimed the bragging rights last season, winning two of their three meetings including victory in the FA Cup final. Another triumph at Wembley on Sunday would make it back-to-back wins over Chelsea for the first time since 2011.
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea