In the grand scheme of things, the Community Shield doesn’t matter much. It’s a glorified friendly, a test of stamina, a “barometer of fitness” as Sir Alex Ferguson once put it. Even if you win and technically collect a prize, only the most brazen recognize that as being anywhere near the level of a trophy actual worth of end of season recognition.
Incidentally, it was Mourinho who was in charge the last time Chelsea contested this fixture, two years ago, also against Arsenal. That 1-0 defeat — Chelsea’s two center forwards were Loïc Rémy and then Falcao, just to set the scene — was just one of the first of many things to go wrong in that “Mourinho season”.
Much like Conte, Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is eager to avoid any hint of that disaster striking again, starting with Sunday’s game.
“There is a bit of honour as well. We want to win our games, we want to do well. For example, in the Community Shield, there is a trophy in play. People might say it doesn't count at the end of the season but it's still good to start the season with a victory in the Community Shield.”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: Mail
Chelsea’s recent meetings with Arsenal will no doubt add a bit of spice as well, with the Gunners getting the better of the Blues in the FA Cup final, and Chelsea playing Arsenal off the park, albeit in just pre-season two weekends ago, but also losing Pedro to facial injuries thanks a punch from David Ospina in the Arsenal goal.
Pedro should be back, in a protective mask, to exact his personal revenge (in the form of goals, that is), but Chelsea will remain without Eden Hazard. Meanwhile, Arsenal will continue to operate without the want-away Alexis Sánchez, just as they have all summer. For Courtois though, Arsenal’s short-handedness is just another thing to be concerned about, especially with it echoing the FA Cup final where Arsenal’s defensive woe led many to believe that Chelsea would walk it with eyes closed.
"Alexis is a guy with a lot of quality. If you see all the games from last season there is a lot of danger coming from him. He has a very strong shot, he is quick. He has the technique. He is important for them but Arsenal have a lot of players with quality. So they will miss him but I think they have a lot of players with that quality to replace him. I think they have bought a good new striker (in Lacazette).
"I’d prefer if he (Sanchez) doesn’t play because he is a good player! But we cannot only look to him.”
“For example in the FA Cup Final (Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in May) they missed some defenders and everybody thought they would be bad. But Per Mertesacker played a great game that day. So you cannot look to the team as one player or another player. It will be a difficult game regardless but I hope for the same outcome as the friendly last week."
-Thibaut Courtois; source: Evening Standard
But beyond all that, Courtois just wants to do everything in his power to ensure a good start to the season, from which the team can hopefully build yet another blazing inferno ... or at least prevent a spectacular collapse.
“A good start helps keep that level throughout the season. It happened to us two years ago. We didn't start well, but we can't think about that. We have to move forward and work hard and hope it doesn't happen.”
“For Leicester, the year they were champions was extraordinary for them. The year before they struggled until the last week to avoid relegation. So for them it was maybe not bad to finish 12th. But for us, our aim is to fight for a title until the last day of the season. If not, to be as high as possible, but obviously with Champions League football.”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: Mail