Chelsea lift Community Shield
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: 07/08/05 3:42pm
A brace of goals from Didier Drogba gave Chelsea an enjoyable 2-1 victory against Arsenal in the Community Shield at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday.
Drogba scored in each half to cap a fine performance and it was enough to give Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho his first trophy of the season despite Cesc Fabregas' consolation strike for The Gunners.
It took just eight minutes for the traditional season curtain-raiser to explode into action - and it was Chelsea that fired home a reminder of why they are the reigning Premiership champions.
Drogba has been hurt by criticism of his scoring record last season, but he looked composed and clinical when Philippe Senderos lost the Ivorian who took a long ball superbly on his chest and fired home early across Jens Lehmann for the opener.
A minute later and new skipper Thierry Henry, promoted to captain following the sale of Patrick Vieira, tried to inject his own magic into the game, teeing up the ball and volleying on the turn - only to watch Petr Cech deal comfortably with his effort.
The France international then perhaps chose the wrong option on 17 minutes when he chose to cross from Freddie Ljungberg's fine reverse ball after Eidur Gudjohnsen's error had presented the Swede with the ball.
For those that doubted that there would be a bite in this game, a feisty clash between Fabregas and Claude Makelele remedied that, with both booked for a pushing match that sucked in several players from both sides.
Kolo Toure had the best chance for Arsenal before the break, his fine run allowing him the time to latch onto an Henry pass and bring a fine acrobatic save from Cech with a drive from the edge of the box.
There was still time for Mathieu Flamini to find himself in space following a good Arsenal move, but the young French midfielder's first touch was heavy, and his eventual shot was blocked.
The second half brought a spate of substitutions from Arsenal - with troubled Dutchman Robin van Persie, Gilberto and new signing Alexander Hleb entering the heat of battle.
Arsenal piled on the pressure, although they were grateful that Arjen Robben opted to run at Senderos rather than pass early in the half.
But yet again The Gunners were hit by a long ball, Gudjohnsen flicking on with aplomb and Drogba on hand to take the ball on.
The striker rode a clumsy challenge from Senderos, rounded Lehmann and opted to stay on his feet as Lauren cut across him when he could have fallen for a penalty - benefiting from his decision by turning and firing home his second of the game.
Arsenal needed a quick response and they got one; Ljungberg finding some width to cross and a kind touch off a Chelsea defender setting the ball up perfectly for young midfielder Fabregas to slot home first time.
It was end to end football by now, and Ashley Cole was fortunate that his over-casual flick of a low cross ran behind the lurking Robben, before more substitutions from both sides saw the arrival of Chelsea's summer signing Shaun Wright-Phillips and Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes.
Hleb's first meaningful contribution saw him skip down the right before laying the ball on for van Persie who fired wide, and at the other end Pascal Cygan's blushes were spared when another substitute Hernan Crespo charged down his attempted clearance but could not take full advantage.
Lehmann made a hash of a Lampard drive from range but was not punished, and Henry was afforded time to shoot but could not beat Cech, rolling a rather tame effort that the Chelsea keeper collected with ease.
Winning the Community Shield can be a harbinger of doom for Premiership title chances, but Chelsea are more than capable of breaking the jinx - and in Drogba they will hope to finally have in their possession the striker they broke the bank for last summer.
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