Wembley Stadium witnessed yet more controversial refereeing decisions involving Arsenal and Stuart Attwell, as the Gunners beat City to lift the Community Shield.
The Arsenal boss became the first victim of a newly-introduced rule, receiving a yellow card by referee Stuart Attwell during the Community Shield face-off against Manchester City.
The spotlight on Arteta’s booking during the Community Shield intensified after the Arsenal manager voiced his disappointment regarding the decision not to book Manchester City’s Rodri for a clear pull back on Kai Havertz.
Expressing his feelings animatedly, Arteta was seen signalling an imaginary yellow card to the fourth official. Rather than reconsider the decision on Rodri, Attwell chose to book the impassioned Arsenal manager instead.
This season, the FA has introduced new guidelines to curb any vehement expressions from managers on the sidelines which the media would have you believe is the sole domain of Arsenal and Arteta.
The introduction of such rules, while aiming to bring more decorum to the game, also places a greater responsibility on referees to ensure unbiased and consistent decision-making, something they seem to have a problem with.
Arsenal win the Community Shield
Regadless of the flurry of cards Attwell dished out to Arsenal, he couldn’t stop them beating City on penalties to lift the 2023 Community Shield.
With the match seeming ending in a 1-0 win to City thanks to their youngster, Cole Palmer, curling in a lovely shot not long after coming on, a deflected Leandro Trossard goal in the dying minutes took the game to penalties.
Arsenal were immaculate from the spot while Man City messed theirs up. Rodri will perhaps wish he had been sent off (more on that below) as he saw his penalty saved, while Kevin De Bruyne hit the bar as Arsenal won 4-1.
The victorious Arsenal team celebrate winning the 2023 Community Shield here at Wembley Stadium pic.twitter.com/mtta0NJnzP
— Layth (@laythy29) August 6, 2023
This isn’t the first time Attwell has been at the centre of debate involving Arsenal.
Fans may recall the New Year’s Day 2022 fixture, where a clear penalty for Arsenal was dismissed by the same referee.
The match also saw Gabriel Magalhaes receiving his marching orders, painting a picture of inconsistency that Arsenal followers feel has plagued their team’s interaction with officials.
Thomas Partey was also booked after minutes for gently kicking the ball away, something Attwell only punished City for the second time they did it.
Attwell also booked Kai Havertz for a deliberate trip despite not booking Rodri for the pull back on him earlier.
In the second half, we got to see another of the new rule sin place when Martin Odegaard was made to wait 30 seconds before he was allowed back on the pitch after receiving treatment.
That rule is in a bid to stop timewasting by players going down requesting treatment when what it actually does is punish players who are injured, usually through being fouled.
Attwell, so keen to make a point with Arsenal booked Gabriel in the second half, just seconds after Dias had crippled Bukayo Saka to no punishment.
Rodri also continued to commit clear yellow card fouls, the most egregious of which saw him haul Thomas Partey down with two hands, making no attempt to play the ball.
Hios other foul saw him trip Timber who won the ball. Attwell gave a corner.
As always, we remind those reading this that it is not that Arsenal’s yellows are not yellows, it’s that the are often not given to the opposition for the same fouls.
Other Attwell disasters
- Stuart Attwell was once demoted from the Premier League for being so bad.
- He had no issue with Bernd Leno being kicked in the face.
- Attwell has consistently been Arsenal’s worst referee for a number of years.
- Denied Bukayo Saka two clear penalties v Leeds.
Arsenal win Community shield – the photos
Aaron Ramsdale penalty saves
Aaron Ramsdale and Declan Rice react to Arsenal’s Community Shield win over Manchester City
Following this exhilarating victory, Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale, shared their joyous reactions and ambitious aspirations with ITV.
Declan Rice expressed his elation saying, “I’m absolutely buzzing. This is what I envisioned when I joined the club.”
Arsenal’s game against City was intense and challenging, and according to Rice, the secret to their success was patience. “The manager said before the game that it’s like a load of little games rolled into one,” he noted.
Given City’s dynamic playing style, it’s easy to get frustrated, but for Rice, sticking to the manager’s plan was crucial. He proudly added, “It’s my first [trophy] for this club, and Aaron’s, so we’re buzzing.”
Rice, reflecting on his growth since joining Arsenal, acknowledged the influx of new information and strategies under the current management.
“I’m eager to learn and keep improving,” he stated, confidently adding, “With this team we’ve got – the manager, the staff – we can achieve anything this year.”
But he was quick to emphasise the importance of the team staying focussed and cherishing the present moment. “We need to stay focussed, stay together, and enjoy today,” Rice concluded.
Aaron Ramsdale, the man between the sticks, revealed the team’s dedication to mastering penalties. “We’ve been working hard on penalties for about two years,” he shared. However, luck hadn’t always been on their side in previous seasons, something Ramsdale has keenly felt. But this time, their strategy paid off.
On what this victory means for Arsenal, Ramsdale offered a pragmatic perspective. “I’m not sure, I’ll be honest. They’re a bit behind us in their pre-season,” he said about Manchester City.
But for the Gunners, this win was significant. “It’s a marker that we can beat Man City in a big game, when it matters,” he expressed.
While acknowledging the uncertainties of the upcoming season, Ramsdale firmly believes that “any mental block has gone. We’re now ready to push on.”