It feels nice to wake up a fan of the team holding the latest trophy on offer, doesn’t it? Even better when your team won it in such fashion – going down in the 77th, equalizing at the death, and having a perfect shootout. Congratulations Arsenal, 2023/24 Community Shield winners.
It is always nice to have the chance to play in the season curtain raiser. On one hand, it is a final pre-season game often played against one of the strongest teams you will be going up against in the upcoming season, On the other hand, the game at Wembley sets fans rolling. It creates the mood for the season.
I know many of you are still nursing celebratory hangovers- at work. Therefore, allow me to glaze over a few talking points and leave you to bask in the afterglow of yesterday’s win.
The Community Shield was still preseason for Mikel Arteta
It was bold of MA to bring all his new signings to the starting lineup. While Timber has settled in seamlessly, Rice seems to be taking some time. Havertz appears to be struggling, but that can be attributed to being used in different positions since he joined.
The lineup showed MA’s intent to continue experimenting in readiness for the season kickoff. Most fans commenting online were not happy with the experiment. Timber’s substitution was a cause of uproar in many quarters.
We will be seeking more ugly wins
MA said that the FA Community Shield is a trophy in his programme notes. When there is a trophy on the table, you want to win it. This will be our approach today against a very good Man City team.’
Unlike the last league meeting where Arsenal tried to dominate City from the get-go, this time they sat and let City possess. They grew slowly into the game which they approached with the caution of a final.
Even as Arteta tries to entrench his philosophy, expect more varied approaches this season and ugly games when what has to be done must be done.
Fans took Community Shiled time to judge new signings – and Arteta
Deadline day signings are exciting, but I prefer seeing what we’ll be working with beforehand. Our three signings so far -Kai Havertz Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice- were on the field from the start. Timber appears to have gotten immediate approval. Harvertz is dividing opinion. Most fans feel that Rice is yet to come good, but there is some all-round patience about him. Everybody agrees that we have pretty decent signings.
However, this patience does not extend to MA. Some quarters are unhappy with his starting line-up (mainly starting Harvertz as a 9). Others feel that he delays substitutions too much. He could have been stoned for hooking timber in the second half.
Foden is an impact sub, ready to take on new responsibility.
Let’s step away from the Colney a bit. Did you see how Phil Foden turned Thomas Partey for their opener? Total disrespect! I understand Partey was on a yellow and may have avoided a foul. However, it is Foden’s burst and decision-making after that turn that earns him a mention. The quick transition to get most of the Arsenal team out of the game shows that he is ready to take up extra (huge) responsibility following Ilkay Gundogan’s departure.
Trossard is an impact sub, will keep showing why he deserves to start
Oh, we have one of our own too! It is impressive that Leandro Trossard, performing so well as a starter at Brighton, agreed to join us in January. He was comfortable to start from the bench. However, he doesn’t seem comfortable to keep warming it. He has delivered every time he is called upon and consistently knocks on Arteta’s door for a starting berth. His absence from the starting XI was the only source of discomfort for most fans. Isn’t it beautiful that he got us back into the contest at the death, and converted his spot-kick beautifully to bag us the most valuable world coin? Such a beautiful headache for the gaffer!
Here come the referees again, even in charity matches!
Stuart Attwell was quick to show Thomas Partey a yellow for his first foul in the game. Probably deserved. However, many fans felt aggrieved when Rodri got away for a shirt tug on Partey – a similar offence to what saw the Ghanaian go into the book. It seems Rodri always gets away with things. And it’s a good reminder for Arsenal fans that they shouldn’t expect any favours -or even absolute fairness- from refs during the season. The boos as the officials stepped up to the podium showed that the fans already know that.
No penalties for Saka, Please
Tbf, all Arsenal spot kicks were great – including Bukayo Saka’s. But his was the least impressive. Maybe I am biased or getting apprehensive or protective at this point. But I couldn’t help thinking how easily it could have been saved if the keeper went the right way. Yes, I know sending the keeper the wrong way is part of the skill. But for heaven’s sake, can we take our star boy off penalty duty?
There’s a reason fans don’t attend practice 😉
Community Shield or friendly, charity or not, fans do not want anything less than a stellar performance and a win. No experiments. The best players on the pitch throughout. If they were to come to practice, where MA does drills like telling players to hug staff, the Spaniard would be out of work in the morning.
Instead, let’s just meet on matchday weekends. Oh, and Champions League nights. Again! At last!
Will you be there? No matter what?