Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s win over Manchester City in the Community Shield was “really encouraging” as he savoured winning silverware in front of the Arsenal fans for the first time.
The Spaniard led the Gunners to FA Cup and Community Shield success in 2020 but on those occasions, the Wembley terraces were empty due to Covid-19 restrictions.
This time, more than 81,000 filled the national stadium as the Gunners came from behind at the death to snatch a 1-1 draw – Leo Trossard’s deflected effort cancelling out Cole Palmer’s curler – before winning the traditional season curtain-raiser via a penalty shootout.
In his post-game press conference, the boss said: “It feels great. I don’t think it gets much better than winning a trophy in Wembley against the best team in the world, and to do it the way we’ve done it.
“It’s really encouraging, I think we had some great moments in the game, especially in the first half with three massive chances but unfortunately when you don’t put them away, you know what can happen.”
Having led the Premier League for 248 days last season, only to collapse in the final weeks, the opportunity to get one over Pep Guardiola’s side was clearly important to players and staff alike. Much to the annoyance of the usual twerps, they celebrated with gusto.
“It’s great, that’s why we are here – to win trophies for this football club and make it successful,” added Arteta on the importance of the win.
“Just the joy of seeing so many happy and proud people and the connection again doing it for our supporters in Wembley feels very different, and that’s great.”
Had Arsenal ended up on the losing side, which looked very likely as the clock ticked into the eleventh minute of stoppage time, Arteta would likely have played down the result and stressed the importance of getting more minutes into legs and testing new partnerships.
As it is, he thinks the result will be a shot in the arm for his players ahead of next week’s Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest.
“This is great, it lifts us, the spirit, the belief and everything, we just want to play better and win games. That’s what we have to do,” he said.
He also discussed whether the result further raises expectations heading into the new season.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I just wanted to grab that trophy as quickly as possible and then we can think about the next, but we know it’s football, you win a trophy today, but tomorrow you have to be training, you have to prepare for the Nottingham Forest game in the right way.
“It will be a very different game to this, a very difficult one as well and we know that we have to go day-by-day.”