It's taken fourteen (14!) tries, but Arsene Wenger has finally beaten Jose Mourinho. Unfortunately for Arsenal and their manager, the victory comes in the Community Shield, which is still just a friendly at the end of the day (albeit with a shiny platter to commemorate the occasion) so it doesn't really count. Or it might count. I don't even know at this point. Somewhere between fake preseason and the real season, there lies the Community Shield.
So just how did Wenger pull off the seemingly impossible? How did his team finally break a 500-minute scoreless streak against Chelsea, and hang on to their first win since the 5-3 shocker at Bridge? By becoming the thing they hate the most, trading places with Chelsea in the narrative.
Jose Mourinho: 'The best team lost and the most defensive team won.' #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 2, 2015
That's right, your eyes were not deceiving you. Arsenal sat back and looked to counter and Chelsea mounted attack after attack in the second half. The Blues handily out-possessed, out-tackled, out-passed, and out-shot the Gunners, according to the baseline statistics of questionable merit. But these numbers do support the manager's overall point. Arsenal played solid defense to secure the lead instead of their normal m.o., which would've been to continue pressing forward for another goal. Their backline stood tall and strong, their midfield got stuck in, their wingers and attackers tracked back diligently. The pretense of "beautiful" football replaced by organized, disciplined, effective – i.e. winning — football.
"For me it depends on the perspective. Normally you [the media] like to say a team that is defensive and defends very well doesn't deserve to win."
‘But I also have my opinion, different from your opinion. My opinion is the team that defends very well, that leaves their philosophy in the dressing room, changes their attitude, plays all the second half with nine players in front of the box, doesn't concede and scores one goal, from that perspective they deserve to win."
"This is football. This is very good tactical organisation. Congratulations to them."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC
Should Arsenal stick to their new-found methods, their title challenge would become a very real possibility. Should they abandon it after a rare one-off use, just like they abandoned after beating Manchester City 2-0 in January, then we'll have one less team to worry about in the spring.