KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- FA Cup holders Arsenal beat champions Liverpool 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the FA Community Shield as England’s new season kicked off — four weeks after the old one ended with the FA Cup Final and two weeks after the last Premier League clubs exited European competition.
Rhian Brewster, brought on by Liverpool just before the end of the 90-minute match, provided the one failure from the spot when he thumped Liverpool’s third kick over the bar. It was the second successive year in which the Reds ended the showpiece as shootout losers.
Wembley’s closed-doors duel, the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic season, had seen Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang open the score after 11 minutes.
The Gunners held their lead to half-time and deserved the advantage after looking sharper and quicker than Jurgen Klopp’s men. They might have scored more but Eddie Nketiah twice shot high and wide when well placed.
The concluding penalty was converted by Aubameyang whose future remains uncertain with discussions ongoing about an extension to his contrast which expires next summer. Manager Mikel Arteta, twice a Shield winner as a player, said: “We are very close.”
Arsenal have lost only once at Wembley in their last 13 visits.
How much the result matters was in question, of course. Firstly, both clubs are still in the midst of pre-season preparations; secondly, it will be impossible to build momentum. The imminent international break means the new league campaign does not begin for another two weeks, on September 12.
Arsenal have now claimed the Shield 16 times, one more than Liverpool and five fewer than record winners Manchester United. The Gunners last success had been only three years ago whereas the Reds were last successful after their FA Cup win in 2006.
The Shield has been staged since 1908 with the format of champions against FA Cup winners being adopted in 1930.
However winning on the day is not necessarily a positive signal about the season ahead.
Since the creation of the Premier League in 1992, only eight Shield winners have gone on to win the league title. Indeed, losing last year proved a good omen for Liverpool. They avenged another 5-4 shootout defeat to Manchester City by leaving them 18 points behind in the league.
Chelsea women win
England defender Millie Bright and substitute Erin Cuthbert scored the goals which gave Chelsea a 2-0 victory over Manchester City in the first Women’s Community Shield at Wembley.
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, starting ahead of Bethany England up front, missed two clear chances before Bright opened the scoring. The Women’s Super League champions capitalised on City having been reduced to 10 players after Jill Scott had been sent off for two bookable offences.
FA Cup holders City came close in the first half when Chloe Kelly struck the outside of the left post after Georgia Stanway had forced a smart save from goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger with a powerful effort.
But Chelsea could easily have won by more had Kerr put away one of her clear-cut opportunities before Scotland midfielder Cuthbert made it 2-0 in stoppage time.
The Australia forward, who joined Emma Hayes’ side in November, hit the side-netting after three minutes when she was clean through and then poked wide from a few yards out in the second half.