Three Community Shield games, three penalty shootouts, two of them involving Arsenal, and both of them ending in wins for the Gunners. We beat Conte’s Chelsea last time and this time, it was Klopp’s Liverpool. This is the second consecutive Community Shield game that Jurgen Klopp has been involved in and he has lost both matches on penalty shootouts.
Let’s move on to the tactics. When in possession of the ball, we went for a 2-4-4 formation which also transitioned into a 3-4-3 shape, depending on the situation. David Luiz and Holding dropped deep into the box to attract pressure. Tierney and Bellerin mostly played as traditional full-backs bombing up and down the pitch.
Maitland-Niles and Tierney would often switch attacking positions in the final third. Every time Tierney went forward, Maitland-Niles stayed back and vice versa. This role is normally performed by Xhaka, who, rather surprisingly, played centrally alongside Elneny in a midfield pivot.
Martinez was given the freedom to pass the ball wide to the full-backs if the Liverpool midfielders pressed narrowly. Since Milner was given a free role in the midfield, Arteta decided to use zonal marking to keep him quiet. Players like Elneny and Maitland-Niles marked Milner depending on where Milner went. Every time Maitland-Niles or Tierney attacked from the wide area, Aubameyang would remain central and vice versa.
Maitland-Niles was very solid defensively too, making 4 tackles overall (according to Whoscored)- the most in the game. There is a reason why Maitland-Niles was Man of the Match in this game, he was that good. Without the ball, we had different shapes, ranging from a 5-2-3 to a 5-3-2 and also a 5-4-1.
Liverpool went for a 3-1-4-2 with the ball. Firmino played in his usual role- dropping deep into the midfield forming a diamond. Mane and Salah were narrow with Robertson and Williams staying wide higher up.
As mentioned before, Milner was given a free role. He’d cover for Robertson whenever the latter went higher up the pitch. Once the goal was conceded, Klopp made him play more centrally and involved himself more in midfield. Sometimes, he’d go to the right too. Williams was tasked with marking Maitland-Niles, but he had problems as Aubameyang and Maitland-Niles would often cause 2v1 situations against Williams.
Liverpool often had to shift the ball to the right, with Van Dijk playing high through to Salah, as he finished with a team-high 18 long balls. Since Trent Alexander-Arnold was absent in the game, Liverpool had to attack from the left more with Robertson. Without the ball, they shifted to a 4-3-3 formation.
Aubameyang scored at Wembley again, scoring the only Arsenal goal in the Community Shield game. He’s scored 5 goals in 3 games in the stadium, making him the highest-scoring Arsenal player at the stadium alongside Alexis Sanchez.
Saka put in a cross-field pass to Aubameyang, who slotted the ball home from outside the box. We were in control for the remainder of the first half. Once Klopp brought in Minamino and Keita for Williams and Milner, Liverpool changed their shape.
Fabinho played alongside Van Dijk at centre-back, with Joe Gomez playing at right-back. Mane switched from the left to the other side, as Minamino occupied the left side. This meant that Salah and Firmino were more central. And this substitution paid off, with Minamino playing a one-two with Salah and scored the equalizer.
With both teams tied at 1-1 at the end of normal time, the game went into a penalty shootout and that’s when Klopp made a mistake. He needn’t have made his final substitution, replacing Wijnaldum with Brewster. This substitution cost him the game with Arsenal taking away the Community Shield, as Brewster missed his spot-kick. We converted each one of our penalties, with Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Cedric, David Luiz, and Aubameyang scoring their respective spot-kicks.
Arteta now has two trophies in less than two months and what a time he’s having. Moreover, we, as Arsenal fans, should be proud of our coach. Having inherited a squad in disarray from his predecessor, Arteta has surely turned the ship around. All we have to do right now is be patient and enjoy the season that will unfold in the coming weeks.