Result: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties)
Competition: Community Shield
Date: 29 August 2020
Starting lineup: Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka, Aubameyang, Nketiah
Subs: Leno, Cedric, Saliba, Kolasinac, Olayinka, Willock, Nelson, Smith Rowe, John-Jules
Arsenal won the Community Shield 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Wembley.
The Gunners looked sharp in the first half and took the lead thanks to a terrific effort by captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the Reds, who had an extra week to prepare, tightened the screw after the break and equalised through Takumi Minamino.
The game went straight to a shootout and the only miss came from young Rhian Brewster whose effort crashed off the bar. The sides traded a couple more successful efforts before Aubameyang hit the winner.
Given the majority of the players had only just returned from three weeks holiday, you’d have forgiven Arsenal for looking a bit rusty. We were anything but.
Yes, Liverpool had more of the ball. Yes, they forced us onto the back foot for long periods. And yes, they put the ball in the net first – a Van Dijk effort correctly ruled out for offside. But we looked organised in defence, calm in midfield and sprightly up top.
It doesn’t hurt having Aubameyang in your attack. With 13 minutes on the clock, he cut onto his right foot from the edge of the box and forced Alisson to pick the ball out of the net. It was low-key genius from a man who really does love a trip to Wembley.
Did I mention that we played it out from the back in the build up? Lovely stuff. Auba celebrated with a crossed-armed tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the star of Black Panther who passed away overnight at the age of 43.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 29, 2020
We continued to look dangerous going forward throughout the half. Elneny did a very tidy impression of Dani Ceballos alongside Granit Xhaka and Saka pulled the strings behind Nketiah who twice went close.
At the other end, Andy Robertson looked a constant threat, catapulting balls into the box from the left but we coped. Holding, linked this morning with a loan move to Newcastle, marshalled Mane admirably and Tierney was his usual all-action self.
By the break, we’d outshot the Premier League champions 7-4. Given we only mustered three shots in the entirety of our 2-1 win over them in July, it was a real positive.
With the same 22 players taking to the field, the game continued to ebb and flow for 15 minutes. Maitland-Niles and Fimino traded benders that flashed wide and Martinez denied Mane who’d stolen behind Holding to go one-on-one with the Argentine.
The changes started to come just before the hour mark. Klopp made a couple and Arteta sent on Cedric for Bellerin.
Tired legs and Liverpool’s quality saw us forced further and further back. For a solid 20 minutes, we struggled to assert ourselves on the game. That said, chances for both sides, were few and far between. A Minamino effort was plucked out of the air by Martinez and Wijnaldum blocked a Saka effort for a corner.
Eventually, Liverpool were rewarded for their pressure as Minamino pounced on a loose ball in the box to side foot past Martinez. (1-1) Mane had a great chance to put the Reds in front with nine minutes remaining but again he was foiled by our keeper.
With fresh legs on the pitch we came back into things and Willock really should have scored from Cedric’s brilliant cross. His effort skipped just wide.
With no extra-time, the game went to a penalty shootout.
Salah scored. Nelson scored. Fabinho scored. Maitland-Niles scored. Brewster hit the bar. Cedric scored. Minamino scored. Luiz scored. Jones scored. Aubameyang scored.
5-4. Thank you. And good night.