Birthday boy Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came through for Arsenal as they defeated Liverpool on penalties to win the Community Shield.

It is two trophies in less than a month for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal who defeated Premier League champions, Liverpool, in the new season’s Community Shield on penalties. Arsenal have now won the competition 16 times, second only to Manchester United.

It was by no means a slow start to the game, with Virgil van Dijk’s goal being disallowed in the 7th minute of the game. Arsenal were quick to capitalise on this development through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who whipped a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal after Bukayo Saka changed the direction of attack.

Liverpool did not get a shot on target in the first half but were quick to respond with multiple chances in the second half. They finally got their part of the scoreline after a series of interchanges between Mohamed Salah and Takumi Minamino.

After the scoreboard read stalemate at the end of regulation time, it went to penalties, where Arsenal came out on top converting all five of their spot-kicks. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over the Community Shield victors.

Emiliano Martinez: 8/10

Emiliano Martinez took over from an in-form Bernd Leno and has not stopped delivering world-class performances since then. Today, as well, Martinez saved two one-on-one chances, against Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah no less. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Argentine is much more than a backup goalkeeper.

Rob Holding: 6/10

Rob Holding started the game on the right side of the back-three, but his lack of game time and/or match fitness was quite clear from the start as he looked shaky throughout the game, making unnecessary clearances. He did, however, find a grip in the second half, and completed five long balls out of eight.

David Luiz: 6.5/10

David Luiz had the job of marshlling Arsenal’s defence against the English champions, and he came through for the most part. After enjoying a mostly faultless 70 minutes off the ball, Luiz’s horrible positioning in the backline gave Salah and Minamino too much space, a chance they simply could not miss. He did, however, convert his penalty during the shoot-out.

Kieran Tierney: 7/10

Impressive yet again (Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)
Impressive yet again (Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)

Another game, another solid display from Kieran Tierney. The Scotsman was on the pitch for 83 minutes, during which he completed five long balls, won 2/2 of his ground duels, made five clearances, blocked one shot and made two successful tackles. No stopping Tierney right now.

Hector Bellerin: 7.5/10

Bellerin was given the job of dealing with the threat of Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane, and fared relatively well. He was able to constantly exploit Liverpool’s high line with his speed, and tracked back in time to defend, aiding the vulnerable Holding. Additionally, he completed 100% (4/4) of his dribbles, 8/10 ground duels, and won two set-pieces.

Mohamed Elneny: 7/10

Nobody expected to see Mohamed Elneny start for Arsenal after completing a year at loan at FC Basel. However, his goal in the pre-season friendly against MK Dons probably earned him a place over Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe. He had his work cut out against Roberto Firmino and did well to neutralise any possible space the Brazilian got.

Granit Xhaka: 7/10

Granit Xhaka has become a mainstay in this Arsenal team following his return to form under Mikel Arteta. He was on show yet again today, providing one key pass, completing 100% of his dribbles, and losing possession just nine times against Liverpool’s relentless pressing.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 9/10

Birthday boy Ainsley Maitland-Niles was at the heart of everything good about Arsenal today. Starting at left-wing back, Maitland-Niles gave Mohamed Salah a challenging time tracking him every step of the way, dispossessing him four times today. He was also quick to join the attack whenever possible, winning 5/8 of his ground duels.

The 23-year-old capped off a great game with a goal in the penalty shoot-out, a Man of the Match award, and a late call up to the England senior team.

Bukayo Saka: 7/10

Bukayo Saka possibly had the most difficult task in this game as he locked horns with arguably the best left-back in the game. He was lucky, though, because Robertson was given a more conservative role, something he was not exactly used to.

Saka attempted three dribbles in the game, completing two. He also boasted of a 91% passing accuracy – second only to Elneny – of which one turned out to be the set up for Arsenal’s opener.

Eddie Nketiah: 6/10

Nketiah did not have a lot to do throughout the game except trying to run at the Arsenal defence. Sadly, he did not get the ball enough to attempt anything, making only 11 accurate passes and winning three set pieces.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 9/10

Arsenal’s most lethal weapon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on an absolute roll, scoring seven goals in his last five official matches, including a stunner today followed by a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. On top of that, Aubameyang gave Neco Williams a lot to worry about, as he kept moving wide towards the touchline, making his movement impossible to track.

It was no surprise that Aubameyang took the pressure upon himself to score the last penalty of the game for Arsenal – one which would win them the trophy. And he delivered like he always does.


Cedric Soares: 5/10

Soares was introduced in the 58th minute for Hector Bellerin in an attempt to bring on some fresh legs against Mane and Robertson, who were pushing harder and harder for an equaliser. However, it only added to their troubles, as he failed to contribute anything in the game. In fact, he opened up several avenues for Liverpool to attack through. Came through when it was vital, though, burying his penalty.

Joe Willock: 7/10

Willock was introduced with less than 10 minutes remaining, and he touched the ball no more than ten times. However, he came incredibly close to scoring the winner for Arsenal through a header which crept through the wrong side of the goal.

Reiss Nelson: N/A

Late introduction; had three touches of the ball, one of which was to score from the spot in the shoot-out.

Sead Kolasinac: N/A

Played less than ten minutes, called in to see the game out.

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