Arsenal gave their hopes of beating Manchester City to the Premier League title a psychological boost as they defeated Pep Guardiola’s side on penalties to win the Community Shield.
After a largely forgettable 70 minutes in the season curtain-raiser, Cole Palmer looked to have won it for City when the substitute curled home a stunning strike.
But Leandro Trossard equalised in the 101st minute when his shot deflected into the back of the net.
That took the game to spot-kicks, where substitute Kevin de Bruyne struck the crossbar before Rodri saw his effort saved and then Fabio Vieira converted to secure the silverware for Arsenal.Arsenal led the Premier League for 248 days last season but their challenge fell apart in the closing stages as City overtook them to claim the title as part of a Treble, along with the Champions League and FA Cup.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta admitted in the build-up to this game that the end of last season still hurt, and was clearly desperate to get one over City, who beat his side home and away last season.
Arsenal’s big summer signings Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber were all handed their competitive debuts at Wembley, but it looked like it was going to be a familiar story as Havertz failed to convert two big opportunities in the first half, before Palmer’s stunner put City ahead.
But Arteta’s side showed impressive spirit to battle to the end and got their reward when substitute Trossard struck before keeping their cool to come out on top in the shootout.Few people put great stock in a Community Shield win and history tells us that it does not often lead to a Premier League title win – only once since 2011 has the winning side gone on to secure the league title.
But that will not concern Arsenal for now as they revel in a positive result after such a disappointing end to last season.
Guardiola said in the build up to this game that Arsenal’s transfer business in the summer has moved them to another level, and while none of Rice, Havertz or Timber particularly excelled, there is little doubt their arrival has strengthened the core of Arteta’s team.
The Gunners lost 4-1 and 3-1 in the Premier League to City last season but this was a much closer affair with Arsenal having the better chances of a cagey first half, but Havertz was twice denied from close range by Stefan Ortega.
While the pressure of a title race is nowhere near the same of a Community Shield match, it will still have been encouraging for Arteta to see his side battle back after going behind, particularly after the manner of their capitulation towards the end of last season.This is familiar territory for City. They have now played in the last three Community Shields and lost them all, but City fans will not care if the ultimate outcome is the same as in previous campaigns – winning the Premier League.
After winning three major trophies last season, Guardiola did not need to significantly strengthen in the summer, although Mateo Kovacic – one of their two big summer signings along with Josko Gvardiol – started in this game.
He slotted in well to City’s midfield and for large parts of this game they looked to have picked up from where they left off last season, controlling play and dominating possession.
Golden Boot winner Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals in all competitions last season, had an off day in front of goal but did so when he made his debut in last year’s Community Shield loss to Liverpool and both he and City went on to enjoy an exceptional campaign.