Arsenal edge out Manchester City in Community Shield shootout

Community Shield

Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City (Arsenal win 4-1 on penalties)

Arsenal beat Manchester City 4-1 on penalties to claim the Community Shield at Wembley, after Leandro Trossard had equalised in the 101st minute of normal time.

Treble-winners City looked on course to add a fourth trophy of the year to their collection, with Cole Palmer’s fine curling shot giving them the lead on 77 minutes. Instead they were handed a third straight Community Shield defeat.

Trossard’s last-gasp effort deflected in off Manuel Akanji to send the contest to penalties, where Kevin De Bruyne – on his return from injury – blasted against the bar and Rodri saw his effort saved.

Arsenal were immaculate from 12 yards, with Martin Odegaard, Trossard, Bukayo Saka and Fabio Vieira hitting the net to land a morale-boosting blow for the Gunners in the season’s curtain-raiser.

There had been plenty of positives for Arsenal during the 90 minutes and they should have led at the break after new signing Kai Havertz missed two good chances. There were good performances from fellow newcomers Jurrien Timber and £105m man Declan Rice, too, with goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale sharp late on to keep them in the game and set up the grandstand finish.

He could do nothing about Palmer’s opener, with the 21-year-old bending a brilliant strike into the far corner after a superb break from Phil Foden. England U21 Euros winner Palmer looks set for a big season ahead.

Cole Palmer celebrates after breaking the deadlock.

But Arsenal – who were pegged back by City in last season’s Premier League title race – battled deep into stoppage time to get their reward, and will hope this can be the catalyst to launch another battle with Pep Guardiola’s side for the major honours which will be handed out at the other end of the campaign.

Arsenal were the Premier League pacesetters for much of last season but it was City who set out to take control of this contest from the off, racking up 85 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes as Thomas Partey’s poor pass for Rice allowed Erling Haaland to tee up Rodri for a deflected shot wide.

Partey had already been booked by then for kicking the ball away and his head coach Mikel Arteta soon felt the force of the stricter attitude towards dissent this season when he was also shown a yellow for having words with the fourth official after Rodri went unpunished for a shirt pull.

Despite that City dominance of the early stages, Julian Alvarez’s shot wide from distance summed up their struggles to break through a compact Arsenal side and instead it was the Gunners who had the best chances of the half, with Havertz passing up two great openings.

His swivel from Ben White’s pass into the box on 25 minutes was followed by a tame shot which was saved by the feet of Stefan Ortega, with John Stones blocking Gabriel Martinelli’s follow-up. The German then saw the goalkeeper deny him again on 40 minutes, when he failed to convert Saka’s cutback.

The England international had shot wide of the far post himself not long before, sending Arsenal into the interval with belief they could get the better of this City side – although a Rodri effort from the halfway line almost made it an embarrassing end to the half for Ramsdale.

The Arsenal players celebrate their shootout win with their fans.

The ‘keeper was sharp to push away Stones’ header from a corner soon after the restart as half-chances came at both ends. Rice fired high and wide from the edge of the box and Saka’s shot was blocked. Timber then got himself in the way of a dangerous effort from Palmer, who had replaced Haaland.

There was to be no denying the young forward soon after though. Timber’s replacement Kieran Tierney slipped as the ball came to Palmer in the box but he was already out of position and Palmer capitalised.

It looked almost certain to be the winner, as the sting in Arsenal’s attack seemed to fade, Ramsdale was forced to save brilliantly from Alvarez and then Rodri, an injury to Partey required lengthy treatment and the clock ticked deep into injury time.

But, at the very last moment, Trossard’s drive was deflected in off Akanji, sparking wild celebrations in the Arsenal end and dugout, and dejection from the City camp.

Those moods were felt again at the end of the shootout, where De Bruyne’s return from the hamstring injury he suffered in the Champions League final ended in disappointment, Ramsdale starred with his stop from Rodri and Vieira clinched the trophy.

Arsenal have won on their last five Community Shield appearances and are outright second on the honours list with 17 overall. They will now have their sights set on bigger prizes to come this season.

As for City, they will hope to bounce back in the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla next Wednesday after their Premier League defence begins at Burnley on Friday. They have gone on to win the Premier League after their past two Community Shield defeats and neighbours Manchester United did the same when they lost this fixture after their own treble win in 1999. Don’t write them off.

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