5 talking points as Arsenal end miserable Man City record in Community Shield

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Arsenal won on penalties (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal won on penalties (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal kept their cool on penalties to end a run of eight straight defeats against Manchester City and win the Community Shield at Wembley.

Kevin De Bruyne hit the crossbar and Aaron Ramsdale saved from Rodri as the Gunners prevailed 4-1 on penalties after Leandro Trossard's deflected effort deep into injury-time sent the match to spot-kicks.

Cole Palmer replaced Erling Haaland, who made it six games without a goal, and appeared to have become the unlikely match-winner. Palmer curled into the top corner from the edge of the area before Trossard's shot deflected off Manuel Akanji in the 101st minute to send it to penalties.

Martin Odegaard, Trossard, Bukayo Saka and Fabio Vieira all scored from the spot to win it and spark jubilent celebrations for Mikel Arteta and his players.

It was some turnaround from Arsenal, who had the better chances in the first half, but could not make them count. Stefan Ortega saved from Kai Havertz before Gabriel Martinelli’s follow-up effort was blocked by John Stones.

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And City’s back-up goalkeeper kept out another effort from Havertz after the summer signing was found by Bukayo Saka’s cut-back. City’s first shot on target came when John Stones rose highest from a set piece, but Aaron Ramsdale saved his header comfortably.

Palmer's goal came in the 77th minute and, another substitute, Phil Foden, should have made it 2-0 when played in by Julian Alvarez, only for Ramsdale to make a brilliant stop one-on-one. The Arsenal keeper came up trumps again seconds later to keep out Rodri's diving header and Trossard's deflected shot deep in injury-time sent it to penalties.

Here are the talking points from the curtain-raiser at Wembley.

New rules in full effect

5 talking points as Arsenal end miserable Man City record in Community ShieldMikel Arteta was booked for waving an imaginary card (Eddie Keogh/The FA via Getty Images)

They can’t say they weren’t warned. Before the season began, clubs were told of the new rules referees would implement. For those that weren’t paying attention, the first half of this game told them all they needed to know.

Officials’ new bugbears include kicking the ball away and imaginary card waving. Thomas Partey and Alvarez were both booked in the first half for kicking the ball away after a free-kick was awarded, while Mikel Arteta’s animated nature saw him fall foul of the rules, too.

The Arsenal boss was shown a yellow card by Stuart Attwell after charging towards the fourth official to wave a card after Rodri fouled Havertz in the middle of the pitch.

They’re unlikely to prove popular, but the clampdown on certain behaviours is here to stay for the 2023/24 season.

Havertz criticism returns

5 talking points as Arsenal end miserable Man City record in Community ShieldKai Havertz spurned a few chances in the first half for Arsenal (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

When Arsenal paid Chelsea £65million for Havertz, it was a major show of faith in a player who has at times struggled for consistency. Nobody was doubting Havertz’s talent and potential, but many were doubting his ability in front of goal.

The German only scored 32 goals in 139 appearances for Chelsea and was often guilty of missing big chances. It’s early days at Arsenal, yet his lack of cutting edge, playing as a No9 in Gabriel Jesus' absence, was evident in the first half against Man City.

He did well to spin on Ben White’s cut-back, only to see his central shot saved by Ortega. Later in the half he had another great chance from a similar Saka cut-back, only to scuff his effort at the near post, where City’s second-choice goalkeeper kept him out again.

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“You really feel that a top striker would score this,” said Roy Keane on ITV at half-time. “We’ve seen this too many times with him, particularly at Chelsea… He’s not a natural goalscorer.”

Kovacic best of the debutants

5 talking points as Arsenal end miserable Man City record in Community ShieldMateo Kovacic looked immediately at home in Man City's midfield (Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Mateo Kovacic’s £25m move from Chelsea to Manchester City always looked like an astute piece of business. The Croatian midfielder just had the feeling of a Pep Guardiola player – and this game confirmed that he is a good fit for his new side.

Kovacic is a very different player to Ilkay Gundogan – the player he essentially replaced – but his passing ability and bustling runs from deep look at home alongside Rodri in midfield.

Arsenal fielded new signings Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber and Havertz and, while they all slotted into Arteta’s system, none shone as brightly as Kovacic on the other side.

Timber played at left-back, ahead of specialist Kieran Tierney, while Rice played alongside Thomas Partey in midfield. The former West Ham man got forward well to support attacks, but couldn't make an impact before being withdrawn in the 81st minute.

Silky Odegaard

5 talking points as Arsenal end miserable Man City record in Community ShieldArsenal captain Martin Odegaard showed some lovely touches (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Community Shield can often feel lethargic, with players still trying to get up to full speed following pre-season trips to the other side of the world. But Martin Odegaard certainly looked sharp and up to speed at Wembley.

The Norwegian drew gasps from the Arsenal fans with a few moments of magic. First he produced a beautiful touch to bring the ball out of the sky. He followed it with a dazzling piece of skill which left Alvarez on the floor.

He didn’t slow down after the break, either, skinning Kovacic with a subtle body swerve following a pass down the line from the right-back position. Odegaard reminded us how nice it is to have football back.

Arsenal end dominance

5 talking points as Arsenal end miserable Man City record in Community ShieldCole Palmer curled into the top corner for City (Eddie Keogh/The FA via Getty Images)

The gap between the two sides did not look gigantic for the vast majority of this match - and it wasn't in the end.

Manchester City appeared to be on course for a ninth successive win over Arsenal in all competitions. Arteta's side had not beaten Guardiola's since a 2-0 win in the FA Cup semi-finals in July 2020.

This was a good omen for the upcoming season.

Felix Keith

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