Arsenal v. Chelsea
Charity Community Shield
Sunday, August 2, 2015
7AMPT/10AM ET/3PM PT
Wembley Stadium, London
Form: ARS awesome | CHE shit
US TV: Fox Sports One | Worldwide TV listings: livesoccer.tv
This game has often been called a "curtain-raiser" for the regular season, which starts in a week. It's not so much that, as it is another meaningless friendly - it's just that the FA put it at Wembley, and used it as a mechanism to raise money for charities, which the FA's constituent clubs would distribute to charities in their areas. It has always been a showcase - at first, it was amateurs v. professionals, then in the 1920's, it shifted to league winner vs. FA Cup winner, which is how it has remained ever since.
This match had been called the Charity Shield since 1908, and the FA was rightly proud of its image and its charitable good works. That is, until 2002, when the Charity Commission found that the FA, in a completely surprising, shocking, and not-at-all-expected turn of events, failed to meet its obligations under English charity laws by not specifying how much of each ticket price was being given to charity, and by delaying the payment of raised funds to the named charities. So now, the game has been freed of its pesky obligation to help others, and it's the Community Shield.
And, as with all friendlies, the result of this one does not matter. It won't send a message to Jose if Arsenal win, and it doesn't signal the beginning of Trophy Drought II: The Legend Of Curly's Gold if Arsenal lose. What is this game, then? It's a fine tuning. It's a last bit of preparation for West Ham. It's a game that, despite its friendly status, will probably be played at a much closer tempo and intensity to a league game than anything else this summer.
So with that said, what sort of team can you expect to see? I'm really bad at, and subsequently don't generally do, lineups and formations, particularly for friendlies; I will say, though, that I would expect that Arsenal and Chelsea will both field fairly full-strength lineups, since it is that last tuneup; whether we see Jeff or not is still up in the air.
So, for the last time until May, sit back, relax, and watch a game about which the outcome is of no consequence - starting next week, things get real, real fast.