The Community Shield, a game that ushers in a new premier league campaign, has come and gone. It featured Arsenal, the FA Cup Champions and Liverpool, the Premier League Champions. Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal tactician, used the game to once more showcase his managerial credentials. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and came out victorious. The Spaniard proved that the recent victories over Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea were no fluke.
Although Arsenal defeated Liverpool in the Premier League recently, nobody gave them a chance. Comparing players of the two clubs by their positions shows that Arsenal doesn’t measure up to Liverpool. A fan’s vote for a combined Arsenal and Liverpool team on BBC sports featured only Aubamayang from the Arsenal line up. To cap it up, Liverpool has one of the best managers on earth at the moment.
Despite that, Mikel Arteta subdued the German not once, but twice in the space of one month. It may seem Liverpool relaxed a bit in the first defeat, having already won the Premier league; however, this time, Arteta produced a tactical master class to defeat the impressive Liverpool side.
The Spanish coach deployed his players in an adaptive 3-4-3 formation. Once Arsenal is in possession of the ball, they turn to a 3-4-2-1 shape, with Aubamayang and Saka running into the wide positions. Nketiah remained the focal point for attack. The former Arsenal captain also made some tactical twitch with player positioning to nullify the threats of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
Maitland-Niles, a natural right-footed defender midfielder, started in the left-back position. This move precisely aims to check the rampaging Mo Salah who enjoys cutting into his left leg from the right flank. A right-footed Niles combining with left-footed Tierney was a perfect answer to the Mo Salah threat. Eventually, Mo Salah remained anonymous all through the game, switching to the right side at times.
Added to that, Arteta did another fantastic stunt. Kieran Tierney, playing at the centre of the defence, moved forward at will to put in crosses. His inputs featured more when Arsenal is without the ball. He fills in at central position and left-back at the same time. This explains why he tired out, and Kolasinac replaced him towards the end of the match.
In the midfield, Arteta played with two natural holding Midfielders, Elneny and Xhaka. In the process, Saka turned into a number 10 and a number 7 all through the time he played. His creativity in the game was evident. No wonder, he made the assist for Aubamayang’s goal.
When Jurgen Klopp tried to shake things up a bit with the introduction of Minamino, Arteta responded too. He took off tired legs like Bellerin, Tierney and Saka. Eventually, Minamino scored the equalizer that sent the match into penalties.
Subsequently, Arsenal won the game 5-4 on penalties to lift the community shield. The victory represents a bold statement by Arteta and his Arsenal team regarding their preparedness for the new premier league season.