Welcome to the warm-up lap. This one matters more then the other preseason friendly, not by much. By a tiny bit. Maybe a little bit more than a tiny bit.
"I think it's in between. It's not a friendly like against Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, or Arsenal against Wolfsburg. It's more than that but less than a Premier League match. We lost against Red Bulls and we're not happy, so it's normal we always try to play for a result and the Community Shield has a motivation different from a friendly or summer tournament. It's the start of competition."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC
Of course Mourinho wants to win everything and that's the mindset that permeates the squad as well. From leaders and veterans like John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, to the New Guard like Nemanja Matic, to the youngsters like Kurt Zouma, everybody wants to win this one.
For the fans, it's perhaps a bit different. A glorified friendly with a fancy plate is hard to get excited about. Unless we win it, of course. The players and manager might play down the fact that it's against Arsenal, but for us, that's perhaps the thing that matters the most. A chance to get one over the Gunners should never be passed up. Throw in a bit of Petr Cech weirdness, and this game starts to almost matter.
Date / Time: Sunday, August 2, 2015, 15:00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Referee: Anthony Taylor — we were not too happy with Mr. Taylor after last season's Southampton match that kicked off the whole campaign, but he did referee out 2-0 win over Spurs in the League Cup final, so it's all good now.
Forecast: Sunny and warm.
On TV: BT Sport 2 / Ultra HD (UK); Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes (USA); Sony Kix / Six HD (India); elsewhere
Online: BT Sport (UK); Fox Soccer 2Go (USA)
Arsenal team news: We could bemoan our lack of transfer market activity, but Arsenal really haven't done much at all either. They did of course sign Petr Cech, addressing a major area of weakness, and bit part players like Lukas Podolski and About Diaby did leave, but otherwise, it's the same team we've known from recent seasons. Unsurprisingly, Arsenal already two players in the treatment room; both Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck are expected out for a couple more weeks.
So all your previous jokes apply, despite back-to-back FA Cup trophies for the Gunners. Arsenal are also the current defending Community Shield champions (is that a thing?) following their 3-0 win over Manchester City last August. Whaaaaat?
View from the enemy: The Short Fuse
Chelsea team news: Everyone's available and everyone's healthy, including Gary Cahill and Diego Costa who picked up knocks in the friendly against Barcelona. However, both teams had key players involved in the Copa América (Alexis Sanchez for them and Willian for us, most significantly); their levels of fitness and match readiness may not be too great at this point yet.
Otherwise, one might imagine Mourinho would roll with basically a first-choice lineup here, saving the reserves and backups and youths (and any new signings) for the Fiorentina friendly on Wednesday, then having the first-choice eleven ready for the season opener next Saturday.