With all eyes falling on Wembley on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal got their hands on the first piece of silverware of the season as they lifted the Community Shield following a dramatic penalties victory against Manchester City.
In what was a showpiece event from the capital, Pep Guardiola’s record-breakers came seconds away from making an early domestic statement as Cole Palmer produced a wonderful whipped effort in the final 15 minutes.
However, despite suffering Premier League title heartbreak back in May as they missed out on the chance to get their hands on a first domestic crown since 2004, Arsenal produced an electric late comeback here.
With Leandro Trossards’s last-gasp strike taking a huge deflection off of Manuel Akanji, Arsenal cruised their way to a 17th Community Shield trophy and a third piece of silverware under Mikel Arteta from the penalty spot.
In what was a heavyweight battle from Wembley on Sunday afternoon, we have taken a look at the main talking points from the season’s curtain-raiser.
Arsenal lay down their early marker
Leading the Premier League title charge for a staggering 248 days last season and with many feeling that Arsenal missed out on a golden chance to claim a first domestic trophy since 2004, many were wondering if Arteta’s blossoming squad would show any signs of a summer hangover.
While Guardiola’s former protege might have publicly stated that his side were still disappointed by their title collapse earlier in the year, Arteta was desperate to see his youngsters make an early statement of intent at Wembley.
Suffering back-to-back Premier League defeats against a history-making Manchester City last season, Arteta was rightfully filled with praise for his side’s eye-catching performance across the capital on Sunday afternoon.
With all of their big-money summer recruits handed a start here, the Gunners certainly showed a huge amount of resolve and it is no surprise that many feel Arsenal will once again be City’s main title contender this time around.
Although only once since 2011 has the Community Shield winners gone on to be crowned Premier League champions during the upcoming campaign, Arsenal will have their sights set on being the exception to the rule this time.
City will know they have bigger fish to fry
While Sunday’s penalty defeat at Wembley might mean that Guardiola’s superstar squad has now remarkably lost each of the last three straight Community Shield events, Manchester City will be the first to state that they have bigger fish to fry.
Making major history last season as they became the first English club since 1999 to be crowned treble champions, the Sky Blues have made it no secret that they are planning another silverware sweep this time around.
Ending their agonising wait to claim a maiden Champions League crown as they clinched that famous 1-0 victory against Italian icons Inter Milan on June 10th, the one-time Bayern Munich boss won’t take much stock from Sunday’s spot-kick defeat at Wembley.
Mounting a stunning charge after returning from the World Cup’s winter break as they eventually overcame an Arsenal side that had held a double-digit lead, City already find themselves tipped as the leading contender to defend their Premier League crown.
While Guardiola’s defending champions might be rightfully disappointed when leaving the capital on Sunday afternoon, it is hard to see their latest Community Shield slip-up causing many long-term effects.
Havertz will take time to adjust
While Arsenal might have smashed their transfer record last month as they snapped up Declan Rice in a deal worth £105million, the now-former West Ham skipper is not the only big-money arrival who made the move across London this summer.
Although many might have been surprised to see the Gunners fork out £65million on ex-Chelsea star Kai Havertz, Arteta has stated that he feels the German international can play a key role in Arsenal’s charge for a first Premier League crown in two decades.
With the Gunners announcing prior to Sunday’s showdown at Wembley that former Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus will miss the start of the season after poking up a knee injury, Havertz was once again deployed as a false nine on Sunday afternoon.
However, squandering a pair of golden first-half chances here, the *25-year-old* showed many of the same issues that haunted him during his final season at Stamford Bridge last year.
Although many might still be pondering over where the ex-Bayer Leverkusen starlet is best deployed, Arteta has urged Arsenal fans to give their latest summer recruit time to settle in north London.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Saliba, Timber, Rice, Partey, Odegaard, Martanelli, Havertz, Saka
Subs: Tierney, Vieira, Trossard, Smith Rowe, Nketiah
Manchester City: Ortega, Walker, Stones, Dias, Akanji, Kovacic, Rodri, Silva, Alvarez, Grealish, Haaland
Subs: Palmer, Foden, De Bruyne
Goals: Arsenal: Trossard (90+11’) – Manchester City: Palmer (77′)
Yellow Cards: Arsenal: Gabriel, Havertz, Partey – Manchester City: Alvarez
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Stuart Attwell
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