Arsenal has commenced the English Premier League exactly how the team hopes to end it – by getting the better of Manchester City.
Arsenal beat City 4-1 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation on Sunday to win the Football Association’s Community Shield at Wembley Stadium, a match that serves as a traditional curtain-raiser to the season.
The game is typically played between the winners of last season’s Premier League and FA Cup. Because City won both as part of the title treble also containing the Champions League for the first time, Arsenal took part as the runner-up in the league and might have gained a psychological edge heading into the new campaign that starts on Friday.
Cole Palmer curled in a 78th-minute goal after coming off the bench to give City the lead, only for Leandro Trossard to score with a deflected shot in the 11th minute of second-half stoppage time, taking the game to penalties.
Kevin De Bruyne hit the crossbar with a powerful strike from the spot and Rodri had an effort saved by Aaron Ramsdale, giving Fabio Vieira the opportunity to win it for Arsenal. The Portuguese playmaker curled it high into the corner.
Arsenal had the better of the chances in the 90 minutes with off-season-signing Kai Havertz leading the line with Gabriel Jesus injured having two close-range efforts saved in the first half and Bukayo Saka shooting wide.
John Stones had a header from a corner tipped over from Ramsdale before Palmer’s goal.
City has now lost the Community Shield in three straight years, having been defeated by Leicester in 2021 and Liverpool in 2022.
HAALAND QUIET AGAIN
Apart from the painful finish to the match, City manager Pep Guardiola might also be slightly concerned that star striker Erling Haaland was quiet again, having ended last season with one goal in eight games in all competitions.
One positive for City, however, was the sight of De Bruyne coming on for the final half-hour for his first minutes since the Champions League final in June, when he came off with a hamstring injury.
Another was Palmer, a 21-year-old winger who is expected to have more game time in the coming season following the departure of Riyad Mahrez to Saudi Arabia last month.
The way he converted his opportunity, collecting a nod-down from De Bruyne, he cut inside onto his left foot and bent a finish into the far corner, showed he is more than capable of taking his chance under Guardiola.
Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol, who joined City for 90 million euros ($99.2m) on Saturday, was not involved.
Arsenal has strengthened by signing Havertz, midfielder Declan Rice, and versatile defender Jurrien Timber and is expected to be one of City’s biggest title rivals again in the Premier League this season. Arsenal finished second last season only after a late collapse.
The match also provided an early sign of what to expect from match officials in the coming season, with players and coaches having agreed to a so-called “Participant Charter”, which means they will face stricter sanctions for bad behaviour in matches.