Arsenal has started the English season how the team hopes to end it – by getting the better of Manchester City.
Arsenal beat City 4-1 in a penalty shootout, after equalizing in the 101st minute in regulation time to draw 1-1, to win the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
The match serves as a traditional curtain-raiser to the season and is typically played between the winners of last season’s Premier League and FA Cup. Because City won both as part of the title treble also containing the Champions League for the first time, Arsenal took part as the runner-up in the league and might have gained a psychological edge heading into the new campaign that starts on Friday.
“For us, it’s a statement,” Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale said. “It’s a marker to know we can go and beat Man City in a big game when it matters.”
Cole Palmer curled in a 78th-minute goal after coming off the bench to give City the lead, only for Leandro Trossard to score with a deflected shot in the 11th minute of second-half stoppage time, taking the game to penalties.
Games in English soccer are set to have more minutes added on in the upcoming season – like at the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year – after statistics showed the ball was only in play on average around 55 minutes during Premier League matches last season. Sunday’s finish was a demonstration of the impact that more stoppage time could have.
In the shootout, Kevin De Bruyne hit the crossbar for City and Rodri had an effort saved by Ramsdale, giving Fabio Vieira the opportunity to win it for Arsenal. The Portuguese playmaker curled it high into the corner. Martin Odegaard, Trossard and Bukayo Saka earlier scored penalties for Arsenal.
In 2005, another Vieira – Patrick – scored the winning penalty in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Arsenal, which has won the Community Shield in five of the last 10 seasons, had the better of the chances in the 90 minutes, with off-season signing Kai Havertz – leading the line with Gabriel Jesus injured – having two close-range efforts saved in the first half and Saka shooting wide.
John Stones had a header from a corner tipped over from Ramsdale before Palmer’s goal.
City has now lost the Community Shield in three straight years, having been defeated by Leicester in 2021 and Liverpool in 2022.
Aside from the painful finish to the match, City manager Pep Guardiola might also be slightly concerned that star striker Erling Haaland was quiet again, having ended last season with one goal in eight games in all competitions.
One positive for City, however, was the sight of De Bruyne coming on for the final half hour for his first minutes since the Champions League final in June, when he came off with a hamstring injury.
Another was Palmer, a 21-year-old winger who is expected to have more game time in the coming season following the departure of Riyad Mahrez to Saudi Arabia last month.
The way he converted his opportunity – collecting a nod-down from De Bruyne, he cut inside onto his left foot and bent a finish into the far corner – showed he is more than capable of taking his chance under Guardiola.
Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol, who joined City for £90-million on Saturday, was not involved.
Arsenal has strengthened by signing Havertz, midfielder Declan Rice and versatile defender Jurrien Timber and is expected to be one of City’s biggest title rivals again in the Premier League this season. Arsenal finished second last season only after a late collapse.
“I’m not sure what it’ll be like this season,” Ramsdale said. “But that mental block is gone. We’re ready to push on now.”
The match also provided an early sign of what to expect from match officials in the coming season, with players and coaches having agreed to a so-called “Participant Charter” that means they will face stricter sanctions for bad behaviour in matches.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was shown a yellow card in the first half for waving an imaginary yellow card after Rodri made a tactical foul to prevent a breakaway. Either side of that, two players – Arsenal’s Thomas Partey and City’s Julian Alvarez – were booked for kicking the ball away.
Kane scores four goals in potential Tottenham farewell
Harry Kane scored four goals in a pre-season game for Tottenham on Sunday as speculation continues to swirl about his future amid interest in the striker from Bayern Munich.
The England captain, who has one year left on his contract at Tottenham, is reportedly the subject of a take-it-or-leave-it offer from Bayern of more than €100-million.
Kane started the friendly game at home against Shakhtar Donetsk and scored the first four of his team’s goals in a 5-1 win that highlighted his importance to Tottenham.
“You saw today that Harry certainly is invested in what we’re doing,” said Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou, “and we’ll keep on doing that unless something changes.”
The 30-year-old Kane was given a standing ovation by Tottenham fans after being substituted late in the game, and he applauded back. He then returned to the field to applaud fans after the final whistle.
He could leave for free next year if he stays for this season and doesn’t sign a new contract at Tottenham, where he has played as a professional since 2010.
“I don’t even know what’s in Harry’s mind, let alone anyone else’s,” Postecoglou said. “I think all these things will obviously play out over the next period. We’ll deal with what happens from there.”
Tottenham and Bayern have held talks about Kane, and Bayern honorary president Uli Hoene said last month he was confident the striker would make the move this summer.