Arsenal beat Chelsea by virtue of a penalty shootout to secure the first silverware of the season on Sunday, in a game that made up for a distinct lack of quality with plenty of talking points.
Victor Moses gave the Blues the lead early in the second half, before a Pedro red card and a Sead Kolasinac equaliser with ten minutes remaining forced the game into a shootout.
And the game was decided with the new penalty shootout format – ABBA – which is certainly likely to split opinion, here are five things we learned from events at Wembley.
5. We Could Have an All New Penalty Shootout Format (And Thibaut Courtois Really Can’t Take Penalties)
So, the ABBA format has arrived. Whether it’s here to stay or not will depend on the reception it gets following its trial in the Community Shield.
If you were unlucky enough to miss it, think of something similar to a tie break in tennis. The side that begin the shootout take just one penalty, before their opponents take two in succession. Each side then continue to take two each until a winner is found.
On this occasion, the winner was Arsenal, thanks in part to Thibaut Courtois’ horrendous attempt, which more closely resembled a goal kick.
4. Both Sides Have Plenty of Room to Improve
Neither of Arsenal and Chelsea were particularly impressive on the day, although it’s not entirely surprising that the game lacked an element of quality.
Both had key players missing or rested, and there was clearly some pre-season rustiness still to be shaken off.
That being said, there will be plenty of areas Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte will have identified for improvement. The two goals were sloppily defended from both, with the scorers unmarked and in far too much space.
3. Alexandre Lacazette Looks Lively Ahead of Debut Premier League Season
He was by no means sensational, but there were hints of potentially exciting things to come from Arsenal’s £52m new signing Alexandre Lacazette.
The French forward very nearly put the Gunners in front with a curling effort that struck the post, and his movement caused the Chelsea defence a number of problems.
His inclusion in the team also seemed to free up space for Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. Expect Lacazette to show more of his ability when the Premier League season kicks off against Leicester on Friday.
2. Defeat Could Help Vindicate Antonio Conte’s Squad Complaints
Chelsea were by no means poor against Arsenal, but the loss and the slightly lacklustre display may help Antonio Conte stress the importance of bringing in new arrivals.
The Italian coach opted to leave new signings Anton Rudiger and Alvaro Morata on the bench, and was without Eden Hazard, Tiémoué Bakayoko and Diego Costa, who is set to leave the club.
Conte has been repeatedly bringing up the need for reinforcements before the end of the window, and the depleted squad list in the Community Shield programme seemed to emphasise his point.
1. Sead Kolasinac Could Be Arsenal’s Next Fan Favourite
The powerful defender certainly made a positive impact in the time he was given as a second half substitute against Chelsea.
Kolasinac stamped his authority on the game with physicality, something Arsenal have been accused of lacking in recent years. The Bosnian, judging by today’s display, will quickly eradicate any concerns that the Gunners could be too lightweight.
To add to that, he scored the crucial late equaliser with a well guided header to take the game to penalties and an eventual Arsenal victory.