Minutes after his Arsenal side lifted the FA Community Shield at Wembley, Arsene Wenger once more insisted Alexis Sanchez will not be sold this summer.
New signing Sead Kolasinac headed the Gunners level with eight minutes left to play against Chelsea, who had taken the lead through Victor Moses within a minute of the second half starting. They were, though, reduced to 10 men shortly before they surrendered their lead when Pedro was shown a straight red card by Bobby Madley for a dangerous challenge on Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
So the destination of the Shield was decided by a penalty shootout, providing the opportunity to test the new ‘ABBA’ system. And after the Premier League champions missed back-to-back penalties by Thibaut Courtois and Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud made no mistake to mark a victory for the FA Cup holders.
After the match it was no surprise when attention switched to Sanchez, who was left out of the Gunners squad as he continues to build up fitness. The Chile international remains a target for Manchester City, who are hoping to take advantage of his contract situation to prise him from the capital. But Wenger continues to insist that there is no chance he will consider letting the 28-year-old forward leave the club.
“I cannot stop all the speculation but Sanchez is focused. For the 273rd time, yes [he will stay after 31 August],” Wenger said. “We are here a lot today because of players like Sanchez and [Mesut] Ozil so I wanted them to be part of it. It’s down to us to put a positive atmosphere around the team.”