Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley but the testy contest saw mixed debuts from both sides’ big signings in the mad transfer window.
The Premier League champions had gone ahead through Victor Moses, before Pedro was sent off for a dreadful lunge on Mohamed Elneny.
From the resulting free-kick, debutant Sead Kolasinac showed his worth to take the match to penalties which the Gunners won 4-1.
Chelsea’s record £60 million signing Alvaro Morata – a late substitute – dragged a poor penalty wide
Arsenal’s £46.5 million record signing Alexandre Lacazette faded after having the best moment of the first period, smacking a shot against the post.
Who, at a time when a club, Paris Saint Germain, owned by a country, Qatar, can be bought from Barcelona for nearly £200 million, will prove to be worth the money?
Premier League clubs are expected to “comfortably surpass” the record spend for a summer transfer window, according to accountants Deloitte.
As of noon on 1 August, one month before deadline day brings an end to proceedings, top flight teams had spent £910 million on buying players. At the same stage last year, this figure was at £480 million.
The average transfer expenditure per Premier League club is £46 million so far this window, compared to the £58 million average for the entirety of summer 2016’s dealings.
Chris Stenson, manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “The combination of record broadcast, commercial and match day revenues continues to fuel extraordinary levels of transfer expenditure in the Premier League.
“Clubs have already spent more in this window than they did throughout the entire summer 2015 window. With one month still to go, we expect this summer’s total to comfortably surpass the previous record of £1.165 billion, set in summer 2016.
“Indeed, last summer, £685 million – almost 60 per cent of total transfer expenditure – was spent in the final month of the window.”
Some of the window’s biggest deals include Manchester United spending £75 million on Romelu Lukaku and £40 million on Nemanja Matic, Manchester City buying Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy for £51 million and £52 million respectively, and Liverpool paying £39 million for Mohamed Salah.
So, with the Premier League starting this coming weekend, who is going to win?
For sure, Chelsea will get a harder time of it and may miss the goals of outcast Diego Costa.
With Jose Mourinho continuing his reshaping of Manchester United, the Red Devils will surely be right up their challenging in a way they have not done since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Money bags Manchester City must also be in with a big shout.
Have Spurs peaked or can they repeat the achievements of the last two seasons? With all the turmoil of the temporary move to Wembley as White Hart Lane is rebuilt minds could be elsewhere.
Liverpool appear to have a squad with far more depth – just so long as they can steer clear of injury. Not a good start with both Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge already crocked.
Arsenal are in flux and much angst remains as to the futures of Sanchez and Ozil.
An ambitious Everton are looking to break into the Big Six while lightening surely cannot strike twice at Leicester City.
I think this year it could be between the two Manchester clubs.
Many pundits predicted that last year and it never happened. But both have strengthened big time and both have tremendous managers.
Who is your choice?