Arsenal started the 2020-2021 season with a trophy, as the Gunners beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties in the English Community Shield. Arsenal won the competition for the 16th time in club history while Liverpool lost the competition for the second year in a row.
The game lived up to its expectations, offering loads of chances and some nail-biting moments for both sides. In the first half, Arsenal took the risk of playing out of the back and reaped the rewards early in the game. Liverpool looked slow and unmotivated in the first half as Arsenal looked like the more threatening side.
In the 12th minute, the ball started with keeper Emiliano Martínez. After a couple of quick passes, the ball made its way up the right side of the field to winger Bukayo Saka. Saka then looped the ball across the field to captain Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang who took the defender on, cut in onto his favored right foot and curled the ball into the far corner to give the Gunners the lead 1-0.
Shortly after, Arsenal picked up the ball in Liverpool’s half of the field. Midfielder Granit Xhaka played the ball out wide to a scampering Saka. The England Under 21 International then drove a cross to the penalty spot where it was hit by fellow England International Eddie Nketiah. Nketiah tried to place the ball to the right of Liverpool keeper Allison Becker, but the keeper made a strong save. Both teams then went quiet as no real chances were created during the rest of the half. The Reds were unable to register a shot on target in the first half.
Liverpool came out of the break firing on all cylinders and creating loads of chances, while Arsenal looked tired in the second half. The Reds first opportunity came in the 55th minute as Sadio Mane made a run in behind the Arsenal defense where he was one on one with the Arsenal keeper. The winger wasn’t able to lift the ball over the keeper as Martínez made a strong stop.
In the 73rd minute, Liverpool was finally able to get on the scoresheet to level the game at 1-1. Star winger Mohamed Salah was able to carry the ball across the Arsenal 18-yard box where he played the ball to substitute Takumi Minamino. The Japanese International was then able to play an awkward one-two with Salah where he got the ball back and slotted the ball by Martínez to give his first career goal at Liverpool.
After a couple of substitutions, Arsenal looked dangerous in the final 10 minutes of regulation. Their best chance came in the 85th minute when defender Cedric Soares whipped a cross into the Liverpool 18-yard box. The cross was then met by youngster Joe Willock, but the midfielder headed the ball wide of the post. At the end of the regulation, there was nothing to split the sides, so penalties would determine who would take home the 2020 Community Shield.
Both teams made their first two penalties as Salah and Fabinho scored for Liverpool while Reiss Nelson and player of the game Ainsley Maitland-Niles slotted their chances away for the Gunners. Youngster Rhian Brewster then stepped up to take his penalty for Liverpool. The Englishmen, who came on as a sub in the 92nd minute, struck the ball off the crossbar putting the Reds behind. Arsenal would then go on to take advantage of the opportunity. David Luiz and Soares would make their penalties for the Gunners while Minamino and Curtis Jones would finish their chances for Liverpool.
Ironically the game came down to the man that put Arsenal ahead at the beginning of the game. Aubameyang would be the man the Gunners call on to win the game for Arsenal, awarding them their second trophy in August. The Gabon International, cool, calm and collected, put the ball by Allison, into the right side of the goal winning the shootout for Arsenal.
As Arsenal celebrated winning the Community Shield for the 16th time in club history, Liverpool was left scratching their heads as they dropped their second game in a row to the Gunners. Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool will be looking to head back to the training ground as they prepare to defend their Premier League title. Mikel Arteta will enjoy winning his second trophy in his very short career as Arsenal manager. Arsenal hopes to keep their good form going as they look to challenge for Champions League football in the upcoming Premier League season.