Fantasy Football

What we have learnt from Arsenal and Chelsea in the Community Shield

What we have learnt from Arsenal and Chelsea in the Community Shield

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What we have learnt from Arsenal and Chelsea in the Community Shield

Sponsored by Premier Punt

The traditional Premier League curtain raiser is sometimes quite a dull affair and this year’s Community Shield was no different, but however much each manager would have played down the importance of winning such a title, there is little doubt that each manager would have wanted to set down a marker as to their Premier League title intentions today.

Last season saw Arsenal start the league poorly and Arsene Wenger would have been desperate to help his team continue a serious run of momentum by beating Chelsea at Wembley, and an astute level of tactical knowhow coupled with a fully fit squad to choose from allowed him to do just that with a slim 1-0 win in true Jose Mourinho style.

With much of the pre-season hype around Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott, it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who stole the headlines with a 24th minute strike. Although Chelsea bossed the possession with 57% possession, Wenger will have been delighted to have only allowed Chelsea two attempts on target.

Mourinho did make a host of changes through the match and notably brought on Radamel Falcao at half time who had little impact despite looking lively in short bursts.

What does the game mean in terms of Fantasy Premier League?

Probably very little if we are being honest… but… what most FPL managers will have been most concerned with was the poor performance by last year’s top man, Eden Hazard.

With a rating of just 5.92 out of 10 on he was the poorest player on the pitch by a country mile and he did nothing to dispel the tag of “big game bottler” that was ringing through football forums and twitter on Sunday afternoon.

Other players to disappoint included the lone front man for Arsenal, Olivier Giroud who had very little impact coming on as a second half striker, but with Arsenal displaying a glittering array of midfielders it didn’t really matter – but it might make you think twice about putting the Frenchman in your FPL team given the preference given to Theo Walcott as the starting front man, just like in the FA Cup final last season.

A man of the match display from Laurent Koscielny (who was colossal in the air) and a well deserved clean sheet for the untroubled Petr Cech go someway to recommending them for your teams. Starting places for Oxlade Chamberlain and Arron Ramsey who both had excellent games will make FPL managers look twice at them but with Oxlade Chamberlain having just a £6m price tag could he be a good cheap option.

The Taming the Ox:

There is no doubting the qualities that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has in his game, but he has never broken through as a first team regular. His mature performance for 76 minutes at Wembley on Sunday will have done a lot to at least make Wenger consider him for a starting place at home to West Ham next Saturday, but is he consistent enough to make the cut?

Unfortunately, the answer at the moment is no. Oxlade-Chamberlain may well feature for the first 3 weeks of the season until Alexis Sanchez makes his comeback from the Copa America – BUT… after this, the best we can expect is a rotation with Theo Walcott and what is more likely is for The Ox to be used as a substitute in the Premier League as an impact player. For now, there are probably better ways to spend £6m on your team.

What we learned about Chelsea?

Jose would never allow us to think that we have gleamed anything out of this game, and we probably haven’t. Arsenal are considered a top club, and many people think that they will be in contention for the league title this season, so the fact that Mourinho went with one striker and his usual formation behind that points to him adopting similar tactics against the big boys this season. There has been talk of him playing Falcao and Costa together (of course Costa was rested today) but we certainly don’t expect this to be a regular occurrence. The absence of Diego Costa today does paint a question mark over his name for the opening day of the season and those managers who are brave enough to gamble of Falcao or Remy may well get a pay off – we think Remy will be the preferred option until Falcao gains full match fitness.

Which Chelsea players to pick for FPL?

Let’s cut to the chase… all you guys want to know is which Chelsea players to put in your teams and who am I to tell you not to pick Eden Hazard? So I won’t. n fact, I still think that he is a must for your team. It is not against the likes of Arsenal, Man City or Man Utd where Chelsea will pick up offensive points, but give Hazard a run against Swansea defender (GW1), a West Brom defender (GW3) or a Crystal Palace centre back (GW4) then it is a totally different proposition.

After Hazard, then it has to be a defender. Given that Azpilicueta is the cheapest starter at £6m he has to make the cut. After that, you may want to opt for a striker, but for me this is too risky until we see how Mourinho plans to accommodate all three strikers. If we were to see Remy move on to another club before Saturday (which we don’t expect) then we might be tempted by Falcao… but that is a big ‘might’ and for now we would be looking at Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Christian Benteke and co.

So… we have learnt everything and nothing today… but it has certainly whet the appetite no end. If you haven’t already done so – then join the other 500 players in our FPL league for the chance to win £100 courtesy of Premier Punt.  Our league code is 57114-16422.

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