Aubameyang stars as Arsenal beat Liverpool to lift FA Community Shield

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang underlined his value to Arsenal with a superb goal and the winning spot-kick as the Gunners beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Community Shield on Saturday.
Aubameyang put Mikel Arteta’s side ahead in the first half at Wembley with a typically eye-catching strike.
Japan’s Takumi Minamino equalised with his first goal for Liverpool late in the second half of the annual pre-season friendly between the Premier League champions and FA Cup winners.
In the shoot-out, Liverpool’s young striker Rhian Brewster was the only player to miss, hitting the bar with their third penalty before Aubameyang calmly dispatched the decisive spot-kick.
As if Arteta needed any reminding, it was another sign of the influence wielded by his captain Aubameyang, who is yet to commit his long-term future to the club as he enters the final year of his contract.
Gabon forward Aubameyang has kept Arsenal waiting nervously during protracted talks and he demurred when asked in a post-match interview if he was ready to sign the club’s contract offer.
Arteta has remained confident publicly that the 31-year-old will stay, but he must hope his talisman’s status is resolved before the Premier League season starts on September 12.
For Liverpool, it was the second successive season they have lost the Community Shield on penalties after being beaten by Manchester City last term.
That is unlikely to concern coach Jurgen Klopp too much given the champions’ lack of rest and preparation since winning the title for the first time in 30 years. The Community Shield traditionally serves as the curtain raiser to the new English season.
But Liverpool and Arsenal were back in action just 34 days after the end of the coronavirus delayed Premier League campaign and only six days after the Champions League final concluded the entire 2019-20 season.
After only one week of pre-season training, it was a more encouraging result for Arteta, whose team emulated their FA Cup final win over Chelsea with another determined, tactically astute display.
Liverpool were without the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold and the naivety of his teenage replacement Neco Williams was exposed by Aubameyang in the 12th minute. Cutting in from the left to reach Bukayo Saka’s pass, Aubameyang was given too much time and space by Williams.
Aubameyang made him pay with a superb curler into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area, celebrating the goal by crossing his arms in tribute to Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who has died aged 43.
It was Aubameyang’s fifth goal for Arsenal at Wembley, making him the club’s joint highest scorer at the national stadium with Alexis Sanchez.
He scored a brace in each of his previous two Wembley appearances against Manchester City and Chelsea. Liverpool had lacked their usual intensity and sharpness in the first half, but they were better after the break and Roberto Firmino curled just wide from 20 yards.
Emiliano Martinez justified Arteta’s decision to keep fit-again Bernd Leno on the bench as the Arsenal keeper raced off his line to make a fine save from Sadio Mane.
That was Liverpool’s first shot on target, but they were improving and drew level in the 73rd minute.
Mohamed Salah and Cedric Soares challenged for the ball in the Arsenal area and it ran to Minamino, who slotted home from close-range for his first Reds goal in the his 15th appearance since his January move from RB Salzburg.
Earlier, Chelsea beat Manchester City in the women’s version of the Community Shield. Goals by Millie Bright and Erin Cuthbert gave Chelsea a 2-0 win over Manchester City in the first Women’s Community Shield ever to be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Bright fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner to put the Super League champions ahead behind closed doors at the celebrated venue and substitute Cuthbert sealed victory late on shortly after City had Jill Scott sent off. FA Cup holders City threatened in the first half when Chloe Kelly was denied by the woodwork but Chelsea were comfortable winners.
– Agencies

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button