Vindicated by their FA Cup triumph, Arsenal approach Sunday’s Community Shield face-off with Manchester City buoyed by the belief that they are now credible challengers for the Premier League title.
May’s 3-2 win over Hull City ended a long and painful nine-year trophy drought for the North London club, and as they return to Wembley Stadium, Arsenal are setting their sights on even bigger prizes.
Manchester City’s 6-3 win over Arsenal last term exposed the big-game frailties that were to fatally undermine Arsene Wenger’s side’s title pursuit, but with a trophy under their belts at last, there is renewed belief at the Emirates Stadium this season.
“There’s been a little bit of negative media [coverage] regarding Arsenal not winning things over the years, but we’ve always believed that it will happen soon,” midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain told journalists this week. “So the fact it did happen [winning the FA Cup], does start the winning momentum.”
City midfielder Yaya Toure meanwhile believes that Sunday’s game will provide a timely gauge of their preparedness.
“It’s a really interesting way to start the season, the Community Shield, against a top team like Arsenal at Wembley,” said the Ivorian.
The game will see vanishing spray – deployed by referees to keep the defensive wall 10 yards back at free-kicks – used in English football for the first time.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.
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