The season curtain-raiser between Premier League champions Chelsea and FA Cup winners Arsenal finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. An English football first followed as the ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout was deployed and the Gunners prevailed 4-1 to extend their winning record at Wembley to nine straight games, including two in penalty shootouts.
The ‘ABBA’ system is based on the format used in tennis tie-breaks, with the team taking the first kick in each pair of kicks alternating.
Courtois took Chelsea’s second kick, seeking to equalise, and blasted over before Morata, the substitute striker, fired wide. That gave Arsenal the initiative. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored before Olivier Giroud netted the decisive strike.
Arsenal celebrated and Chelsea looked on, just as they had done on 27 May when the Gunners denied Antonio Conte a league and cup double in his first season in charge of the Blues as Arsene Wenger celebrated a seventh FA Cup win with a 2-1 victory here.
The Grenfell Tower fire happened less than three weeks later, killing at least 80 people and Wembley was united in remembrance yesterday, hoping to raise £1.25 million for the victims of the tragedy.
After a goalless first half in which new signing Alexandre Lacazette hit the post for Arsenal, it was Chelsea who took the lead within moments of the restart.
Granit Xhaka sent Cesc Fabregas’ corner looping into the air and Gary Cahill met the ball on the edge of the area. Cahill headed the ball into the box and Victor Moses was lurking. He took one touch on his chest and then slipped the ball in.
Chelsea winger Pedro was sent off after catching Mohamed Elneny with a tackle from behind and Arsenal equalised from the resulting free-kick, Sead Kolasinac converting a free header from Xhaka’s pass.
Morata was offside when he headed Fabregas’ late free-kick wide as the match went to penalties and Arsenal extended their winning record at Wembley.