Arsenal – Liverpool saw the Gunners knock off the Reds in the FA Community Shield on Saturday, officially kicking off the 2020-21 campaign in England.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged the game’s opening goal early on, but Takumi Minamino pulled the Reds back level with fewer than 20 minutes to go in the game. Neither side could muster another goal before full-time, sending the Reds and Gunners to a penalty shootout, where Rhian Brewster blasted his spot kick over the bar, Alisson was unable to make a save of his own and Aubameyang clinched the first trophy of the season.
Arsenal – Liverpool started rather slowly with very little action around either goal in the opening 10 minutes, until Aubameyang fired the Gunners ahead in the 12th. Aubameyang, who’s yet to put pen to paper on a new contract but is still expected to do so, cut in front the left and hit a delightful curler from the edge of the box to beat Alisson.
Eddie Nketiah had Arsenal’s best chance to go 2-0 up in the first half, but the 21-year-old forward couldn’t quite place his first-time effort far enough to Alisson’s left. Bukayo Saka set Nketiah up with a long run down the right wing before cutting the ball back to the top of the penalty area.
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Not long after halftime, Roberto Firmino very nearly replicated Aubameyang’s goal with a right-footed curler toward the same post, but fortunately for Emiliano Martinez, Firmino’s effort sailed inches wide. It would, however, signal a significant shift in momentum with Liverpool more frequently able to assert their will.
A “typical” Liverpool chance came just just minutes later when Sadio Mane snuck between two Arsenal defenders and latched onto an aggressive through ball from Andrew Robertson. Mane couldn’t get the ball out from underneath himself, though, and barely got a shot off with Martinez rushing out to touch the ball away.
The pressure paid off in the 73rd minute, when Minamino suddenly found himself on the ball at the top of the six-yard box. It pin-balled around Arsenal’s penalty area before falling to the Japanese international who tucked it away for his first Liverpool goal.
Up next, Liverpool will start their Premier League campaign at home against Leeds United on Saturday, Sept. 12. Arsenal will be away to Fulham on the same day.
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