Arsenal won the Community Shield for the 16th time on Saturday, edging out Liverpool on penalties at Wembley Stadium.
Arsenal brought their usual Mikel Arteta big-game plan to Wembley on Saturday, defending as a unit before trying to hurt Liverpool on the transition.
It only took 12 minutes for the strategy to pay dividends, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finishing a nice team move with a fantastic curling effort from outside the box.
The Gunners had another chance or two in the remainder of the half, but Liverpool dominated the possession and had a few of their own. This theme continued after the break as Arteta’s side looked to protect their lead.
When Liverpool did eventually draw level, there was a lot of luck about it. I counted at least four deflections on the ball between Mohamed Salah picking it up outside the box and when it fell to Takumi Minamino to finish.
But that’s how it goes sometimes when you put so many men in your box. Both teams settled for a penalty shootout, and after five flawless Gunners penalties and one miss from Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, Arsenal came out on top.
Let’s have a look at our Arsenal player ratings for the match.
- Emi Martinez 8.5 – A little hesitant in the first half, but shook off the cobwebs to play a crucial role in the second with some top saves.
- Rob Holding 7 – Solid, made a lot of clearances, did get lucky on one occasion when Mane got in behind.
- David Luiz 7 – Strong 90 minutes and a nice penalty for someone with one day of pre-season training under his belt.
- Kieran Tierney 7 – Similar to Holding, a good performance overall but with one occasion where he let Mane in and got a bit lucky.
- Hector Bellerin 7.5 – Very good when carrying the ball, completing a game-high four dribbles. Faded and came off early.
- Mohamed Elneny 7.5 – Really nice return to the Arsenal side, didn’t look out of place at all.
- Granit Xhaka 7.5 – Did well managing the tempo of the game and knowing when to stay back and when to support the attack.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles 9 – Excellent performance against Salah, beautifully calm penalty.
- Bukayo Saka 8 – Fantastic first half, creating three chances including his assist. Ran out of steam towards the end and had to come off.
- Eddie Nketiah 7.5 – Some excellent work and movement in the build-up to his chances, just needed to put one of them away.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8.5 – Took his one chance expertly, created a couple more, worked hard as usual.
- Cedric Soares 7 – Created a great chance for Willock, won a few duels, blazed one cross over the box. Solid penalty.
- Reiss Nelson N/A – Only had a couple of touches in normal time but showed a lot of guts to step up to the penalty spot first in the shootout and slot it into the corner.
- Joe Willock N/A – Certainly didn’t hide in his eight minutes. Made a tackle, won two duels, completed a dribble, created a chance, completed six of six passes and missed a header he should’ve scored.
- Sead Kolasinac N/A – Filled in for Tierney and won a couple of duels.