The curtain raiser for the new domestic season in England every single year is the Community Shield, and despite the chaos that 2020 has introduced to our lives, that tradition didn’t change as FA Cup winners Arsenal squared off against Premier League champions Liverpool.
The Reds were, naturally, considered to be the favorites to walk away as the winners of the trophy, but in the end, the Gunners were the ones who pulled out a penalty shootout victory to keep their momentum rolling after their big Wembley success over Chelsea a few weeks ago.
The game was always destined to be a tight affair with neither club really having all too much time to relax between last season and this one. Still, we had a few moments of real quality to enjoy, and that’s all you can ask for at this early stage.
It didn’t take long for Arsenal to get themselves on the scoresheet as popular forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a stunning goal to give them a 1-0 advantage after just 12 minutes. Liverpool tried to pick their moments and get straight at their opponents, but it took longer than they probably would’ve liked to find the breakthrough they needed for the equalizer.
With 17 minutes left on the clock, Takumi Minamino scored his first big goal for the club to level up the scores – which, eventually, took the game through to penalties.
From there we had a showcase of how to take great penalties, with the only miss coming from youngster Rhian Brewster who rattled the bar with his effort. Aubameyang stepped up and scored the winning goal, giving Arsenal their second piece of silverware in the month of August alone.
Manager Mikel Arteta had the following to say after the win.
“You never get used to winning. I knew the challenge we faced today against this incredible opponent. Thank you very much to the players for the effort and performance.
“The courage of the team, how aggressive we were without the ball and against the Liverpool press. I am pleased and knew in the second half we would suffer. But in the penalties we had courage to do them right.
“In the last 10 minutes we took the ball and played in the final third. I am pleased how they competed. It creates belief.”
On the flip side, Jurgen Klopp understandably wasn’t all too pleased.
“We deserved the equaliser and could have scored more but we didn’t do that.
“When you play against a formation like this then you need to be really fresh in the final third and you need to force it, create angles. The rhythm for that fell a little bit. Today it was not enough.”
The difference in winning the Community Shield and challenging in the Premier League is obviously huge, but Arsenal fans can be forgiven for getting excited. After all, Arteta has given them plenty of reasons to be optimistic – and we wouldn’t be surprised to see that trend continue as the countdown to the first set of fixtures goes on.