What we learned from Arsenal’s Community Shield triumph over Manchester City


In the season’s unofficial curtain raiser, Arsenal took on treble winners Manchester City in front of a jampacked Wembley Stadium. In a game often branded as a glorified friendly, it was Mikel Arteta’s men who laid down a statement win ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.  

Goals from Cole Palmer and Leandro Trossard would take the game to penalties, in which Arsenal would win convincingly 4-1. Although this game has no real bearing on the league season, it will give the Gunners a much-needed confidence boost going into an era-defining campaign.

What we learned from Arsenal’s Community Shield triumph over Man City. 

#3 Leandro Trossard must start

Arteta has made it clear that he wants competition in every single position. He doesn’t want any player to feel complacent or believe they’re guaranteed a starting position. Throughout pre-season, Leandro Trossard has been one of Arsenal’s most impressive players.

The Belgian has been in scintillating form over the past few weeks, regularly contributing with goals and assists. That’s why it was quite strange to see him on the bench for the season’s curtain opener. Even with Gabriel Jesus on the sidelines, Trossard found himself as part of the subs.

With the Gunners trailing 1-0 deep into injury time, Trossard stepped up when his team needed him most. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score, and the Belgian added the clinical edge to Arsenal’s measured build-up play.

#2 Jurrien Timber is the real deal

Technically sound on the ball and assured in 1v1 defending, Jurrien Timber showed us exactly why management thought he’d be an excellent addition to Arsenal’s title-challenging squad. Not only has he added cover across the back four, but he has now presented the manager with a healthy selection dilemma.

There is now no conceivable way that Oleksandr Zinchenko can just walk back into this starting XI, he will have to earn that privilege due to the flawless performances of Timber. His importance to the team’s shape was only exasperated by the fact the Gunners conceded a goal minutes after he was substituted.

#1 Kai Havertz as a False 9

The theme of this article seems to be Arteta’s fascination with versatile players. When you have a squad filled with multi-faceted players, it allows for tactical flexibility meaning adjustments can be made seamlessly mid-game.

In the absence of Gabriel Jesus, Arteta chose to deploy Kai Havertz up front in a false 9 role. The German was tasked with occupying City’s centre-backs aerially but also dropping into midfield to draw them out.

Unfortunately, Havertz was unable to use his 6’3” frame to effect, as he lost his 4 aerial duels but apart from that, he was competitive and always on the move. Even though he didn’t score, Arteta will be pleased with the German’s movement in the box as he found himself in position for two big chances. It’s early doors, but it’s clear that the boss has a plan to get the best out of the 24-year-old.  

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