Branislav Ivanovic knows there will be no loved lost when Chelsea face Arsenal in the FA Community Shield on Sunday, but the Serbian defender hopes both sets of supporters give Petr Cech a warm reception.
They come into the game off the back of their preseason tour of the USA, in which they faced New York Red Bulls, PSG and Barcelona in the worldwide Champions Cup.
Whilst the encounter between the Premier League champions and FA Cup winners is classed as a friendly, developments over the summer around these two clubs makes this a potentially feisty encounter.
Goalkeeper: All eyes will be on Petr Cech to see if he starts against his old club for the first time since making the move from Stamford Bridge to the Emirates.
Asked whether Costa would be injury-free, he said: “I believe… but I’m not anxious about it. I go match after match”.
Arsène Wenger has recommended that José Mourinho check the “real statistics” if he wants to scrutinise Arsenal’s transfer policy, citing his record of developing young players and adding that he does not think it worth listening to the Chelsea manager.
“If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise”, he said via SkySports.
“It’s more than a friendly”, Mourinho said. I will not make a drama if one day we lose.
Diego Costa was a key addition ahead of Chelsea’s title-winning season, but cover was lacking when the Spain striker’s fragile hamstrings flared up.
“I think it’s easy for me to say, and probably easy for you to accept, that he’s one of the top players in the world“.
But Mourinho has dispelled any fears that they could miss out by saying they will both play.
Arsenal beat Manchester City 3-0 in last year’s Community Shield but the north Londoners will be without forwards Sanchez and Danny Welbeck for the trip to Wembley.
“It’s another big game against a London rival and, for me, there is no better way to start the season”. Arsenal are looking to break a duck; the hoodoo that Jose Mourinho holds over his opposite number. So I think it is more of the same. They’re a top squad… The match will serve as a precursor to the English Premier League season, where the two managers are expected to be in the running for the title.