Manchester City’s desire to reach the sextet ran into the passionate conviction of Arsenal, who robbed them of the victory in the Community Shield, the English Super Cup, with a lucky goal at the end of the match (1-1) and greater skill in the penalty shootout of a competition in which extra time was not scheduled, a decision that both teams reasoned out on the pitch: they produced a weak match in which several protagonists were well below their level. All in all, Arsenal’s victory leaves a warning to the best team of last season at the start of the Premier next Friday. City seems somewhere between jaded and lethargic. Before this Sunday’s appointment at Wembley, Guardiola had complained that the rest time had been scarce and that the calendars increasingly demand more and greater efforts, especially those who do not stop winning.
The game had a leaden point, especially at the start in which City slowed down. Tactical chess invited him to attract the rival to his own area, but Arsenal, chastened by past beatings, did not bite. It was barely uncovered and forced City to percussion on a closed defense. Without speed in the circulation of the ball, Guardiola’s team fell into place. The fact that Gundogan is no longer there or that Kevin De Bruyne was out of the eleven, limping after the injury in the Champions League final, has not had a flight in the preseason, did not help their precision and depth sprout either.
Arsenal barely suffered from their mistakes, due to a delivery failure in a sensitive area that caused Rodri to shoot from the front or some problem holding Bernardo Silva on the left flank. And he knew how to grow, first without the ball and then with it. Havertz put Stefan Ortega to the test twice, the German goalkeeper with a Spanish father in whom he trusted Guardiola to give Ederson a break. The game gave City more and more complications and led to the maneuvers of Guardiola, who after noticing that he was not regaining control at the start of the second half, removed none other than Grealish and Haaland from the field. Actually neither of them had touched ball. With Foden on the pitch, the champion found a little more football on the inside. When Kevin de Bruyne came on, still visibly out of his best form, he began not only to collect passes but to find space between the opponent’s lines. They found the prize with a goal from Cole Palmer, a boy who barely less than a month ago was fighting against Spain in the final of the European under-21 that England won.
Palmer unleashed his left foot with a placed shot that proved impossible for goalkeeper Ramsdale. The scoreboard indicated that there were thirteen minutes left until ninety, not until the end. In England they have decided that the criteria for prolonging the matches this season will be similar to those used in the last World Cup. When added time arrived, the fourth official raised the illuminated marker with an eight, Guardiola protested between fuss. A head-to-head clash between Walker and Thomas took the game until minute 101. It was in that long epilogue that Arsenal had enough patience to mature plays, force two consecutive corner kicks and find the tie in the second after an innocuous shot from Trossard who was poisoned when he stumbled in Akanji.
Fortune helped Arsenal and rewarded his courage and insistence. Also his survival because Foden had had the sentence in a hand in hand that Julián Álvarez gave him and before which Ramsdale became enormous. The equalizer was the prelude to a penalty shootout in which Arsenal did not need to shoot five times. De Bruyne sent his shot over the bar and Rodri’s was saved by Ramsdale. Enough for the gunners break their disastrous streak against City of one win and eight losses in the previous nine games, lift the third title of Mikel Arteta’s era as manager of the club and show the world that Manchester City are not infallible. At least he has already lost three consecutive Community Shields.
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