Arsenal have won the Community Shield after a dramatic penalty shootout at Wembley Stadium
On paper, Liverpool entered the game as massive favourites having romped to Premier League glory in record time last season and only losing to Arsenal once in the last five years.
However, that singular blot on Liverpool’s half-decade copybook happened to take place last time out with the Gunners becoming the third team to score a league victory over the Reds in 2019/20.
Aubameyang opens the scoring
And it’s no secret that Arsenal are an entirely different beast when they’re playing under the Wembley arch, having won four FA Cup trophies and three Community Shields in six years.
It was Mikel Arteta’s team that opened the scoring early on, too, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang picking up from where he left off after scoring twice in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
The Gabon international paid a touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman with a ‘Wakanda Forever’ salute after firing Arsenal into the lead with a stunning, curling effort past Alisson Becker.
Arsenal and Liverpool exchange attempts
The strike came in the exact same minute that Liverpool conceded to Manchester City in last year’s final and it could easily have been 2-0 after a teasing effort from range by Eddie Nketiah.
However, Liverpool emerged from the half-time break with more purpose about them with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane coming close with a curled strike and one-on-one effort respectively.
It encouraged Jurgen Klopp to make his first changes of the afternoon with January signing Takumi Minamino as well as Naby Keita coming on for the Merseysiders just shy of the hour mark.
Minamino levels the scores
It proved to be an inspired decision from the German as Minamino levelled the scores on 73 minutes with his first goal for Liverpool, albeit in very fortunate circumstances.
The Japanese international found himself bearing down on goal after his attempted exchange with Mohamed Salah devolved into penalty area pinball, but there was no mistake with the finish.
Minamino calmly slotted the ball past Emiliano Martinez to equalise just as Liverpool did last year and VAR concluded that there were no handballs within the flailing limbs from both sides.
Nevertheless, the final chance of regulation time actually fell to Arsenal with Joe Willock fluffing his lines with a header from Cédric Soares’ fantastic cross from the right-hand side.
But there was to be no winning goal with Liverpool once again being forced to contest the Community Shield on the penalties, the medium through which Arsenal on the title in 2017.
With the pressure riding on the Premier League and FA Cup winners from 12 yards at Wembley, the penalty shootout went as follows:
- Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal – Mohamed Salah scores
- Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal – Reiss Nelson scores
- Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal – Fabinho scores
- Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal – Ainsley Maitland-Niles scores
- Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal – Rhian Brewster misses
- Liverpool 2-3 Arsenal – Cedric Soares scores
- Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal – Takumi Minamino scores
- Liverpool 3-4 Arsenal – David Luiz scores
- Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal – Curtis Jones scores
- Liverpool 4-5 Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores
It seemed apt that the winner penalty was converted by Aubameyang after scoring no less than five goals at Wembley this summer against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.
And although there is still plenty of work for Mikel Arteta to do at the Emirates Stadium, there can be no denying that an FA Cup and Community Shield is an impressive start to life in management