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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Wembley Stadium

For Arsenal, the shadow cast by Man City remains likeliest obstacle to sunlit uplands

Community Shield

Arsenal (0) 1 Trossard 90+11

Manchester City (0) 1 Palmer 77

(Arsenal win 4-1 on pens)

So what did we learn that we didn’t already know?

As this is the Community Shield, probably not a great deal. It is seldom an accurate gauge of what is to come. Liverpool beat Man City last year, Leicester City defeated them the year before that. And look what happened to them.

But once again, Arsenal showed an appetite for going toe to toe with their nemesis. Whether the outcome will be any different this season remains to be seen.

What they do know is that it won’t be enough to keep accumulating wins. They are surely going to have to find ways of winning the head-to-heads with last season’s Treble winners. After all, if Spurs can mange it, why can't they?

Their current record against Pep Guardiola’s men is appalling. The Gunners went to the Premier League season’s curtain-raiser on a run of eight straight defeats to the Cityzens and only one win in 16 clashes in all competitions.

The good news for Mikel Arteta was the way his newcomers seemed to fit in reasonably well and there seems a progressive direction of travel boosted by the marquee signing of Declan Rice.

On a day when both teams played at a sometimes ferocious pace – Charity Shields of the past were surely not played at such a high tempo, as far as we can recall – Rice, Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz looked OK.

Then again, Havertz will not be expected to fill in as a false nine too often. He was detailed into that role at Wembley as much because of the injury to Gabriel Jesus, which kept the Brazilian out of the picture.

For the most part, it was even-stevens, but when sub Kevin De Bruyne intercepted an attempted clearance by Kieran Tierney with his head, the ball ran to another man fresh off the bench – Cole Plamer, who came on in place of a quiet Erling Haaland.

The youngster drifted to the right edge of the area and checked back onto his left foot before curling an unstoppable drive beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

That seemed likely to be the winner, but deep into prolonged injury time - we were in the 101st minute - Leandro Trossard cut in from the right and hit a left-foot shot which cannoned in off the thigh of Manuel Akanji.

And Arsenal took full advantage of their lucky escape to win the penalty decider that followed. Kevin de Bruyne cracked his kick against the crossbar and Rodri scuffed a shot that Aaron Ramsdale saved easily. Fabio Vieira administered the coup de gras.

Arsenal start the league campaign at home to Nottingham Forest next Saturday lunchtime. There will be justifiable optimism. They led the league for much of the campaign last time around and ought to be in the mix again.

Equally, there will probably remain the nagging suspicion and worry, that no matter what they do, City are capable of trumping it. Then again, City have lost their talismanic skipper Ilkay Gundogan - whose double won the FA Cup Final in May - and the mercurial Riyad Mahrez, who has opted to pursue Saudi lucre.

One pre-season win on penalties does not really alter the landscape, but it may just have given the Gunners a tiny confidence boost. Rice has also brought his silverware influence to bear - having now added another medal to the Europa Conference one he claimed in his last match for West Ham.

Watch Arteta's post-match press conference here

Arsenal (4-3-3) Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabriel (Smith Rowe 87), Timber (Tierney 76) – Odegaard, Partey, Rice (Nketiah 80) – Saka, Havertz (Vieira 87), Martinelli (Trossard 75).

Man City (4-2-3-1) Ortega – Walker, Stones, Ruben Dias, Akanji – Rodri, Kovacic (De Bruyne 64) – Bernardo Silva, Alvarez, Grealish (Foden 58) – Haaland (Palmer 64).

Attendance: 81,145


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