After three failed attempts prior, Arsenal finally got the better of Manchester City in 2023, beating the Citizens on penalties to claim the FA Community Shield and get their campaign off to the perfect start, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
As expected in a clash of two sides who were closely matched last season, there was precious little to separate Manchester City and Arsenal in the 101st Community Shield’s infancy.
A Rodri pop-shot from 25 yards, which whistled narrowly wide of the post, was about as close as either side came to seizing the early initiative. Instead, the most notable action came on the touchline, as Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta fell foul of new rules by talking himself into a yellow card.
While City boss Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man was growing increasingly frustrated on the sideline, he was nearly jumping for joy shortly before the half-hour mark, when Kai Havertz almost netted his first competitive goal for Arsenal.
However, City’s deputy goalkeeper Stefan Ortega smartly stopped the German playmaker’s effort, before John Stones courageously blocked Gabriel Martinelli’s follow up. And Ortega bested Havertz once again shortly after, killing his goal-bound shot from Bukayo Saka’s well-improvised pullback.
This game certainly had the feel of a typical season opener, with two sides lacking match sharpness also evidently lacking invention, as the second half opened in a similarly uninspiring fashion to the first.
Arsenal’s efforts were undoubtedly honest enough, but when Saka miscued a glorious opportunity inside the area, most inside the red half of Wembley sensed that it just might not be their day – especially against a side that had overcome them in 15 of the previous 16 clashes.
And so it seemed to prove, as Arsenal once again came undone against City’s slickers. Chances remained at a premium for City, but with the quality at Pep Guardiola’s disposal, it was no surprise to see substitute Cole Palmer curl home a sumptuous 77th-minute effort which looked set to be the winner.
That was at least until one of Arteta’s substitutes had his say on proceedings, as Leandro Trossard’s fierce strike deflected in off Manuel Akanji to take the game to penalties.
Arsenal’s last Community Shield triumph came on penalties back in 2020, and although they say lightning doesn’t strike twice, it did today as Fábio Vieira slotted home the winning penalty to ensure Arteta’s side laid down a marker in their quest to take City’s title.
City boss Guardiola was visibly affronted by the defeat, and as the fierce competitor he is, will undoubtedly be keen to put it right in their Premier League opener against Burnley on Friday.