Wenger shakes off Mourinho jinx as Arsenal beat Chelsea
Gunners win Community Shield, but long-running managerial feud between the two bosses continues at Wembley
Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0
Just one goal but what a strike it was for the Gunners as the FA Cup winners defeated the Premier League champions in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new season. Alex Oxlade-Chambelain's effort midway during the first half wasn't only a goal worthy of Wembley, but it was the first time Arsenal have scored against Chelsea in 506 minutes.
In fact it was an afternoon when Arsenal finally broke free of Chelsea's iron grip and no one was happier than manager Arsenal Wenger. It was the first time the Frenchman has beaten Jose Mourinho in 14 encounters, a losing streak that last year prompted the Chelsea manager to label Wenger a "specialist in failure".
But those days appear to be over. After nine years without a trophy, the Gunners have now won back-to-back FA Cups and successive Community Shields. The big one – the league title – still eludes them but on the evidence of their pre-season form the Gunners will be serious title contenders this season for the first time in years
"It's a start and it keeps our confidence high," said Per Mertesacker. But the Arsenal captain dismissed the idea that the win installed them as title favourites. "It says absolutely nothing," he replied. "It's still pre-season, but it's a beginner."
Mertesacker singled out Petr Cech for particular praise, saying the presence of the former Chelsea goalkeeper was a "huge boost", and the German defender also pointed out that the side would be even stronger when striker Alexis Sanchez returns from an extended holiday.
Wenger was also phlegmatic in his assessment of the victory, saying the victory, coupled with success in the Emirates Cup last weekend meant the "pre-season has gone quite well". Privately, however, Wenger must be delighted with the result. Though there were few clear cut chances for the Gunners, Oxlade-Chamberlain took his opportunity with clinical efficiency, cutting in from the right of the penalty area before curling a shot past the right hand of Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea didn't test Cech in the Arsenal goal until 68 minutes and even then Oscar's free-kick was comfortably dealt with by the Arsenal keeper. The Gunners finished the stronger of the two sides with Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs both threatening to double Arsenal's advantage.
But it was Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal that proved decisive and the England winger said later: "It's really nice to come to Wembley and win. We wanted to keep our good streak here going. We are delighted to win another trophy and for me personally, I'm happy I got the winner... there is a really good feeling about this season but you never want to speak too soon. The real work starts next week."
Mourinho was in typically passive-aggressive form after the match. He threw his loser's medal to a young Arsenal fan in the crowd and positioned himself at the bottom of the Wembley steps where he made a point of shaking the hand of each Arsenal player as they paraded the shield. However, the Chelsea manager didn't extend the same courtesy to Arsene Wenger, who managed to slip past the Portuguese without any pleasantries.
"You only miss me if you want to miss me and every Arsenal player came in my direction, which was the easiest thing to do because I was just there," said Mourinho when asked why he and Wenger hadn't shaken hands. "If other people didn't come in my direction, that is not a problem, not a story and not the end of the world."
Wenger denied he had avoided Mourinho's hand, telling reporters they were looking for a story that wasn't there. "I shook a few hands today after the game," he said. He also rejected the suggestion he had not forgiven Mourinho for the "specialist in failure" jibe but he did say managers should respect and not ridicule one another: "I believe we live in a job where you have to respect people and respect everybody. It's a difficult job," he explained. "I think it's vital... that managers respect each other."