By firing from all four cylinders and comprehensively beating a full-blooded Chelsea side in the Community Shield on Sunday, Arsenal has succeeded not only in breaking the age-old undefeated jinx of Mourinho’s in the managerial head-to-heads, but also in sending a statement of intent to the rest of the competing teams that the days of its dominance in the English Premier League are just about to be restored.
And what a goal it was! One of Arsenal’s promising strikers, Oxlade Chamberlain displayed phenomenal skill to create little space for himself in the 18-yard box to unleash a thunderbolt. I mean, the sheer creativity of the ‘ox’ inside the ‘box’ and the resulting screamer that left the Chelsea goalkeeper , Thibaut Courtois, helplessly clutching thin air must have been enough to make teams like Manchester United automatically transformed into a panic-stricken mode! If you want to be the best, you’ve got to start by beating the best!
Frankly speaking, we’ve got to give Jose Mourinho considerable credit for re-writing the scripts and effectively re-shuffling the pecking order of the winning elite in the Premier League throughout his first and on-going second stint at Chelsea. You just can’t deny the fact that his embodiment of controversy and his provocative comments always generate some extra spice in a competitively-tense football atmosphere, which is already characterised by fierce and peppered rivalry. Imagine the brazen mockery in describing a colleague coach as a ‘specialist in failure’! As an Arsenal fan, it was the first time I’ve come to recognise ‘brutal innocence’ in someone’s facial expression!
But the tides are about to change! The tackling dynamics on how to stop a star-studded Chelsea have already been exposed by Gunners! The rest of the coaches must have jotted down the tactical breakthroughs that Arsenal let out of the bag. The defeat didn’t only drill a chink in Chelsea’s defensive armour, it also dealt a severe blow in Mourinho’s aura of invincibility! Arsenal’s defeat in the Community Shield means it will never be business as usual for Chelsea. Even the static look of Louis Van Gaal is now beaming with optimism through the blessings of Arsenal’s victory!
As a matter of fact, football pundits can no longer deny the significant impact that character traits could have during the course of matches. For instance, securing the service of Petr Cech as a goalkeeper was a done deal with potentially huge returns for the collective fortunes of the Arsenal team. There is a tendency for opponent strikers to be psychologically unsettled or loss concentration when they face Petr Cech. This was evidently on display during the Community Shield when Ramires headed wide inside the box and Eden Hazard ballooned from six-yards! The Big Name of Petr Cech and the big Edge on Strikers is now another winnable factor on Arsenal’s advantage.
No doubt, after years of marketing football talents at a profit, the time has come for Arsenal to harvest the gains of proper planning. Funds are no longer a problem. The team can no longer be bugged down by injury woes because there are lots of quality substitutes at its beck and call. Even if the gunners attacking potentials have already been proved when the theatre clash left the Chelsea defence with a bloody nose, it is still possible for the signing of yet another big game changer to enrich the team’s attacking options.
It’s a foregone conclusion for teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham etc. to show enormous respect for Arsenal because they have seen the way we handled the monstrous champions in every department of the game during the traditional opening match of the season. They knew it could have been a clean three-or-four-goal margin in favour of Arsenal on another day of better fortunes. They knew that the formidable champions were a pale shade of themselves even in the absence of Arsenal’s COPA Golden Boy, Alexis Sanchez. Collectively, they feel the tidings of Arsenal’s consistency is bringing back sinking feelings of the 2003-2004 football Season when The Invincibles went a whole season without a single defeat. They must have seen the writings on the wall in this pattern of consistency: FA Cup (2014) – Community Shield(2014) – FA Cup(2015) – Community Shield(2015)! They knew that once the Premier League title captures the focus of the Gunners, then the Capital One Cup will inevitably complete the triumphant overhaul of all four trophies on offer.
This would have justifiably reward the team that has long suffered from a cruel paradox of playing beautiful football without enjoying the befitting merits of spotlight silverware.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia