by Lewis Ambrose
Arsenal could be facing a far less than full-strength Chelsea side in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
Injury troubles will worry Chelsea, currently in America, who drew 2-2 with Barcelona on Tuesday night but lost Gary Cahill and Diego Costa in the process.
Costa, who was Chelsea’s top goalscorer last year, scoring 21 goals from 34 games after his £32M switch from Atlético Madrid. The striker missed 12 Premier League games due to a recurring hamstring injury and appears to have suffered a setback with that same problem muscle yet again.
Gary Cahill was impressive last season, playing in all but four Premier League games, but suffered a suspected broken nose towards the end of the friendly.
Following the Copa América this summer Chelsea will already be without Willian, Juan Cuadrado and Radamel Falcao on Sunday but only a handful of those players are central to Mourinho’s plans.
Arsenal, meanwhile, will be without forwards Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sánchez at Wembley but are set to hand a debut (of sorts) to former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech.
Such absentees provide no excuses for defeat, both clubs have deep squads and enough money to add more players if and when they are needed. That said, facing Chelsea without Cahill and Diego Costa would certainly encourage Arsenal that they can beat the Premier League champions.