Chelsea captain John Terry has warned Arsenal that their Community Shield victory over the champions will count for nothing once the real action starts in the Premier League this weekend.
Jose Mourinho’s team were well below their best as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first-half strike gave Arsenal a 1-0 win in the prestigious pre-season friendly at Wembley on Sunday.
Arsenal’s vibrant performance added to the growing sense that the north Londoners, who were already on a high after winning last season’s FA Cup, are ready to mount a sustained bid to wrestle the title away from Stamford Bridge.
But Terry sees it differently and, asked if the result should be taken as an early indication of a switch in the balance of power, the former England defender said: “I don’t think so. It’s one of them where they (Arsenal) will probably come up and say differently. But win or lose I don’t think you can say that.
“It’s disappointing to lose, of course, because it’s the first trophy of the season, but it’s gone now.
“You look at the positives from it. I thought we were on top if anything.”
While the Community Shield will be an afterthought by the time the major prizes are handed out in May, Terry is such a driven character that the sight of Arsenal’s players lifting the silverware has added fuel to his competitive fire.
And the 34-year-old says his team-mates are equally chastened by Mourinho’s first defeat in 14 games against Areenal manager Arsene Wenger and will take out their frustrations on Swansea in their Premier League opener.
“Listen, it hurts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendly,” he said. “Whether it’s against my kids or anything, it’s horrible to lose.
“That’s the mentality I was brought up with. It’s the same with the manager. That’s the attitude he demands on a daily basis.
“We’ve not lost many at Wembley, so it could be a blessing in disguise and a wake-up call.
“This squad has the experience and character. The most important thing is the Swansea game and the three points.”
Terry also dismissed concerns that Diego Costa’s fitness problems — the Spain striker missed the match with a recurrence of a hamstring injury — will be a problem given the underwhelming displays of stand-in Loic Remy and new boy Radamel Falcao.
“Diego’s a top player so he would be missed in all sides, but we have three great strikers and they will all be fighting,” Terry said.
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey says their Wembley success proved they have finally figured out how to defeat their main rivals.
Ramsey revealed that Wenger believes a more cautious approach, which they adopted to close out the Chelsea match — prompting Mourinho to criticise Arsenal for abandoning their attacking philosophy — is the key to defeating the big guns.
“I think we’ve learnt over the years how to play against the bigger teams now. Sometimes you have to sit in and invite them on and get them on the counter-attack,” Ramsey said.
“Chelsea have done that against us ever so well in the past so we sort of used different tactics to get the result.”
After winning last season’s FA Cup final against Aston Villa in swaggering style and finishing strongly in the league, Ramsey sees no reason why Arsenal can’t win the title for the first time since 2004 — provided they avoid the kind of sluggish start that proved so costly last year.
“It was important for us to carry on the good form we are in at the moment,” Ramsey said.
“You can definitely sense something has clicked, but we have to get off to a good start because we saw Chelsea have a good start last season and they stayed top for basically the whole season.
“If we do that we will have a good chance. We have a great team, so we are just excited about what this season can bring for us.”