Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has urged his side to use the propulsion from their Community Shield triumph over London rivals Chelsea to avoid another wretched start to a Premier League season.
Gunners striker Olivier Giroud converted the decisive penalty after Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and £60m record signing Alvaro Morata had missed back-to-back spot-kicks in the new ABBA shootout format.
Chelsea had appeared on course for victory in the regulation 90 minutes when Victor Moses struck early in the second-half, only for Arsenal debutant to head a late equaliser moments after Pedro was sent off.
Arsenal have won their opening game of the league season just once in the previous seven years and 12 months ago, following a 4-3 reverse to Liverpool, Wenger admitted his squad were “not physically ready”. The Frenchman is hoping to avoid a repeat scenario.
“It’s an encouragement but not more than that,” said Wenger. “We want to find a good balance between the confidence we can get out of these games and the urgency that every Premier League game demands.
“We had some bad starts recently in the last four years but we have had the intensity in the games and in our preparation that is needed to be ready. So let’s go into the Premier League now with the same discipline and spirit and see where we can go.”
Arsenal, who were without a host of key names yesterday, begin their league campaign with a home clash against Leicester City on Friday evening. Wenger revealed that Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey face a race against time to be fit.
“Mesut got a kick on his ankle, it is swollen and he couldn’t play,” he added. “He has a little chance to play on Friday. Ramsey has a chance but I think he could be short as well. He has a calf problem.”
The FA Cup winners had lifted the previous three Community Shields and Arsenal surged out of the blocks and enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.
A sweeping counter-attack midway through the half ended with Danny Welbeck squaring for £52m club record signing Alexandre Lacazette, whose curling effort rebounded off Courtois’ post.
Premier League champions Chelsea had only threatened intermittently but opened the scoring a minute into the second period when Moses reacted quickest to latch onto a Gary Cahill header from a half-cleared corner and lash past ex-Blue Petr Cech.
Courtois produced a stunning finger-tip save to repel Granit Xhaka’s 30-yard blockbuster before Pedro received a straight red card for a mistimed lunge at Mohamed Elneny.
From the resulting set-piece, Arsenal conjured an 81st-minute leveller as Xhaka’s floated free-kick was met by substitute Kolasinac, who guided a header beyond Courtois.
In the shootout, skipper Cahill was the sole Chelsea player to score, while Theo Walcott, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud netted for Arsenal, who claimed their 15th Community Shield.