Arsenal ‘lined up for Community Shield’ – regardless of whether they win FA Cup

Arsenal are reportedly being lined up for next month’s Community Shield – even if they lose next weekend’s FA Cup semi-final to Manchester City.

Liverpool will play in the Wembley showpiece for the second season in a row after being crowned Premier League champions, but there is confusion over whether they will play the eventual FA Cup winners.

That’s because other than Arsenal, the other three teams in the semi-finals of the famous competition are Manchester United, City and Chelsea – all of who are currently involved in European competition.

The FA are believed to be keen to stage the Community Shield in or around the end of August, and that would pose problems for teams still playing in the Champions League or Europa League.

Two dates under consideration for the Community Shield – traditionally played between the league champions and FA Cup winners – are August 23 and August 30.



Current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta with the Community Shield as a player in 2014, with Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez alongside him

But due to the delay to the football calendar caused by coronavirus, the Europa League final is due to be played on August 21, with the Champions League final taking place two days later.

So if any of United, City or Chelsea won the FA Cup and also reached a European final, they would have difficulty committing to either of the dates proposed for the Community Shield – especially with uncertainty remaining over when the 2020/21 Premier League season will begin.

If the eventual FA Cup winners are unable to play in the traditional curtain-raise to the new season, the association’s preferred choice to replace them would be Arsenal, according to the Daily Mail.

Not only are the Gunners the only team in the last four of the cup who are no longer involved in European football – they are also the Community Shield’s most successful side, having lifted it 15 times.



The Gunners celebrating the last time they won the Community Shield in 2017 – for a record 15th time

Fittingly, Arsenal have also more FA Cup wins than any other side, having lifted the iconic trophy 13 times going into next Saturday’s semi-final against City.

One alternative suggestion is that the FA Cup winners’ place in the Community Shield could go to the winners of the Championship – likely to be either Leeds United or West Brom.

United are all but through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, as they are due to defend a 5-0 first-leg lead against LASK at Old Trafford on August 5.

City host Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League at the Etihad on August 7 holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg at the Bernabeu.

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Chelsea look to have the least chance of making the quarter-finals of Europe’s top club competition as they visit Bayern Munich on August 8 trailing 3-0 from the first leg.

Of course, it’s not an insurmountable deficit – as Liverpool fans will testify following last season’s dramatic semi-final win over Barcelona.

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