Arsenal faced reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in the annual curtain-raiser of English football, the Community Shield, at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
With the scoreline level at 1-1 at the final whistle, the match was settled with a penalty shootout. The spot kicks went Arsenal’s way and the north London club lifted the Community Shield for the second time in Mikel Arteta’s reign.
Manchester City dominated possession for the first twenty minutes of the match itself, before Arteta’s side came to life and carved out the two best chances of the opening period. Both opportunities fell to Arsenal new boy Kai Havertz, but Stefan Ortega was equal to his efforts on both occasions. Meanwhile, Havertz and Thomas Partey picked up bookings.
The second half plodded along without a great deal of incident, with Arsenal enjoying plenty of possession without much cutting edge, until Manchester City substitute Cole Palmer popped up with a brilliant curled finish from the edge of the area in the 77th minute.
Pep Guardiola’s side might have had another but for Aaron Ramsdale. Arteta threw on a number of substitutes in search of an equaliser. One of those substitutes did make the difference. Leandro Trossard’s heavily deflected effort trickled past Ortega in the 101st minute to send the match to a penalty shootout.
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Arsenal player ratings
Aaron Ramsdale – 8/10
Made two brilliant saves from close range in the second half, and was composed on the ball aside from one loose pass late on. Nothing he could do about the goal. Made a vital save in the penalty shootout. A good response to all of the David Raya speculation.
Ben White – 7/10
Defended excellently and drove forward dangerously on several occasions to deliver some testing crosses into the Manchester City box.
William Saliba – 8.5/10
Imperious on and off the ball. Won his battle with Erling Haaland emphatically and underlined his credentials as one of the best centre-backs in English football. The £27 million the Gunners spent to sign the Frenchman in 2019 looks like a bigger bargain by the week.
Gabriel – 7/10
Battled hard at the back and drove into the opposition half with conviction to support attacks. Managed being on a yellow card for much of the second half well.
Jurrien Timber – 8/10
As a product of the Ajax academy, Timber will be no stranger to the concept of Total Football, and it was in evidence as he popped up all over the Wembley pitch. Looked very comfortable at left-back, defended smartly, and looked to get forward at every opportunity.
Thomas Partey – 7/10
Wriggled out of tight areas with the ball at his feet on multiple occasions, and covered ground well to snuff out attacks. Was overrun and outnumbered in the move that led to Manchester City’s goal.
Martin Odegaard – 7.5/10
Dictated the game almost by himself for periods of the match. Some exquisite touches and glided past players with ease, but the final pass wasn’t always there.
Declan Rice – 7/10
Worked very hard in a more advanced role, and tracked back well to help Partey break up attacks. Was tidy in possession, and his relationship on the pitch with his teammates will develop over the coming weeks.
Bukayo Saka – 6/10
Not at his best. He worked hard and pressed energetically, but his performance was littered with uncharacteristic loose passes and heavy touches. Coolly dispatched his penalty after some recent misses from the spot.
Gabriel Martinelli – 6.5/10
Not as involved as usual, but occasionally tested the Manchester City rearguard with his directness and pace. Worked hard as ever.
Kai Havertz – 6/10
Worked hard leading the line, and used his physicality well at times, but ultimately will feel he should have opened his account as an Arsenal player.
Kieran Tierney – 6/10
Leandro Trossard – 8/10
Bonus points for his dramatic equaliser.
Eddie Nketiah – 6/10
Emile Smith Rowe – 6/10
Fabio Vieira – 8/10
Bonus points for dispatching the match-winning penalty decisively into the top corner.