Arsenal won their second trophy in August as the FA Cup winners beat Premier League champions Liverpool 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Community Shield.
Just 28 days after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice to sink Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley, the Gunners triumphed in the new season’s curtain-raiser in north London.
Mikel Arteta’s side were forced to do it the hard way, with Takumi Minamino’s first Liverpool goal having cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 12th-minute opener.
However, Rhian Brewster – who has enjoyed a fine pre-season for Liverpool – missed his spot-kick, setting the stage for Aubameyang to wrap up another Wembley triumph for the Gunners.
Virgil van Dijk – sporting a cut to his forehead sustained in the pre-season clash with Salzburg last time out – had the ball in the net after seven minutes, but the flag was up for offside.
James Milner should have done better with a close-range header soon after, and Liverpool were quickly made to pay.
Having beaten Liverpool’s press, Arsenal progressed down the right before Bukayo Saka picked out Aubameyang with a superb crossfield pass.
It left Neco Williams isolated up against Aubameyang, who stepped inside and curled a sublime 20-yard finish beyond Alisson.
Roberto Firmino sent a wicked strike just wide following the restart, with Emiliano Martinez then rushing off his line to deny Sadio Mane.
Naby Keita and Minamino were introduced as Liverpool looked to take the initiative, and the changes soon paid off.
After attempting to play a tight one-two with Mohamed Salah, Minamino was on hand to slot in after the rebound fell his way – VAR allowing the goal to stand after a check for handball.
Martinez made another superb stop from Mane moments later, while Joe Willock went close with a header at the other end as penalties were required.
Yet it was Arsenal who triumphed – Brewster, brought on to take a spot-kick, hitting the crossbar with his effort, with Aubameyang coolly sending Alisson the wrong way to condemn Liverpool to defeat.
What does it mean? Arsenal pick up where they left off as Liverpool look to sharpen up
Arteta now has two trophies under his belt as a coach, and Arsenal appear to be going from strength to strength under his leadership.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were far from at their fluent best, but the Liverpool manager will be sure to have his team fully up and running by the time the Premier League season rolls around.
Wembley wonderland for Aubameyang
With his excellent opener, Aubameyang – who is yet to sign a new contract with the Gunners – took his tally of goals at the national stadium to five, making him Arsenal’s joint-top scorer – along with Alexis Sanchez – at Wembley. All of these goals have come in the space of 42 days. To cap off another brilliant afternoon, the striker kept his composure to slot in the winning penalty.
Tough cameo for Brewster
Liverpool’s young striker has been in fine form in pre-season after an excellent second half of 2019-20 with Swansea City, but Brewster’s decision to go for power and height with his penalty ultimately cost the Reds at Wembley.
Both sides will lose players for the upcoming international break, before they kick off their respective Premier League campaigns on September 12. Arsenal will face Fulham, while Liverpool host Leeds United.
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