Arsenal kept their cool on penalties to end a run of eight straight defeats against Manchester City and win the Community Shield at Wembley.
Kevin De Bruyne hit the crossbar and Aaron Ramsdale saved from Rodri as the Gunners prevailed 4-1 on penalties after Leandro Trossard’s deflected effort deep into injury-time sent the match to spot-kicks.
Cole Palmer replaced Erling Haaland, who made it six games without a goal, and appeared to have become the unlikely match-winner. Palmer curled into the top corner from the edge of the area before Trossard’s shot deflected off Manuel Akanji in the 101st minute to send it to penalties.
Martin Odegaard, Trossard, Bukayo Saka and Fabio Vieira all scored from the spot to win it and spark jubilant celebrations for Mikel Arteta and his players.
It was some turnaround from Arsenal, who had the better chances in the first half, but could not make them count. Stefan Ortega saved from Kai Havertz before Gabriel Martinelli’s follow-up effort was blocked by John Stones.
And City’s back-up goalkeeper kept out another effort from Havertz after the summer signing was found by Bukayo Saka’s cut-back. City’s first shot on target came when John Stones rose highest from a set piece, but Aaron Ramsdale saved his header comfortably.
Palmer’s goal came in the 77th minute and, another substitute, Phil Foden, should have made it 2-0 when played in by Julian Alvarez, only for Ramsdale to make a brilliant stop one-on-one. The Arsenal keeper came up trumps again seconds later to keep out Rodri’s diving header and Trossard’s deflected shot deep in injury-time sent it to penalties.
They can’t say they weren’t warned. Before the season began, clubs were told of the new rules referees would implement. For those that weren’t paying attention, the first half of this game told them all they needed to know.
Officials’ new bugbears include kicking the ball away and imaginary card waving. Thomas Partey and Alvarez were both booked in the first half for kicking the ball away after a free-kick was awarded, while Mikel Arteta’s animated nature saw him fall foul of the rules, too.
The Arsenal boss was shown a yellow card by Stuart Attwell after charging towards the fourth official to wave a card after Rodri fouled Havertz in the middle of the pitch.
They’re unlikely to prove popular, but the clampdown on certain behaviours is here to stay for the 2023/24 season.
Kai Havertz spurned a few chances in the first half for Arsenal ( Image: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
When Arsenal paid Chelsea £65million for Havertz, it was a major show of faith in a player who has at times struggled for consistency. Nobody was doubting Havertz’s talent and potential, but many were doubting his ability in front of goal.
The German only scored 32 goals in 139 appearances for Chelsea and was often guilty of missing big chances. It’s early days at Arsenal, yet his lack of cutting edge, playing as a No9 in Gabriel Jesus’ absence, was evident in the first half against Man City.
Spurs hold Arsenal in thrilling North London derby
Arsenal and Tottenham each took home a share of the spoils after a thrilling 2-2 draw in the North London Derby on Sunday.
Son Heung-min twice pulled the visitors back from a goal down after Bukayo Saka had forced an own goal from Cristian Romero before scoring from the penalty spot himself. Son had already given Arsenal an early warning when he put the ball in the net after just five minutes, though he was miles offside and it was ruled out.
Spurs stopper Guglielmo Vicario was the busier of the two keepers in the first half and made terrific saves to deny Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah. But he could do little about the opener when Bukayo Saka’s deflected shot flew in off Cristian Romero’s knee.
Arsenal pressed high and forced Tottenham into numerous errors – one of which Jesus should have capitalised on when he blazed over after dispossessing James Maddison. Yet Spurs were always a threat on the counter-attack and pulled themselves level before half-time when Maddison squirmed away from Saka too easily before cutting back for Son to score off the post.
Arsenal didn’t take long to get back in front, as Ben White’s shot spun off Maddison’s boot onto the raised arm of Romero shortly after the break. Referee Robert Jones missed it but VAR had little choice but to overturn it and Saka clipped his penalty straight down the middle to restore the hosts’ advantage.
Minutes later Spurs were level again – through Son again – as Maddison pounced on Jorginho’s dallying on the ball before setting his team-mate in to slip the ball past Raya. Both teams pushed hard to grab a winner with Kai Havertz and Saka seeing late shots miss the target which could have sealed it, but ultimately both teams will be happy – and relieved – to emerge with something to show for their efforts.
Leandro Trossard goal ends Arsenal’s six-year curse at Everton
Leandro Trossard hit a valuable winning goal for Arsenal as they extended their excellent start to the season against Everton at Goodison Park.
The Belgian winger struck home an excellent effort midway through the second half to finally help the Gunners to victory on Merseyside for the first time in six years.
Gabriel Martinelli looked to have given the Gunners the lead in the first-half, only for VAR to intervene and chalk-off his opener.
Arsenal eventually went in front in the second half through Trossard, with his goal being enough to carry Arsenal to their fourth win from their opening five games.
There were more than a few baffled glances around Goodison Park after Martinelli’s opener was disallowed. Commentator Gary Neville was among those scratching their heads.
The goal came about after Beto had attempted to block Gabriel Magalhaes’ pass. It then deflected all the way to Eddie Nketiah, who brought Fabio Vieira into play before the Portuguese midfielder released Martinelli with an expert pass.
The Brazilian’s finish was unerring as he slotted home. But Nketiah was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the build-up with the celebrations soon cut short.
Whilst Arsenal were aggrieved, it was the correct decision as Beto’s touch was unintentional. To make matters worse for Martinelli, he was substituted off through injury in the immediate aftermath.
Even ahead of kick-off, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta got supporters talking with his team selection. Summer signing David Raya replaced regular number one Aaron Ramsdale in goal.
He explained that the call had been made as part of a rotation policy ahead of a busy run of games. The Spaniard didn’t really have too much to do at all at Goodison Park so it remains to be seen whether it was the right call.
One man who may be a little frustrated is Ramsdale. The England keeper was consigned to the bench and that will not do his international prospects any favours, with Three Lions colleague Jordan Pickford impressing for Everton.
Arsenal struggled to break down their hosts for a long time at Goodison. Away from Martinelli’s disallowed goal and a good save from Jordan Pickford to deny Martin Odegaard early in the first half, the Gunners were lacking any real creativity.
That was until Trossard smashed the opener home. The former Brighton man polished off an excellent move to strike a thunderous effort in off the post.
It represented just his third goal for the North London side since moving to the Emirates Stadium. However, he is already developing a welcome habit with all three of those strikes coming as a substitute. The fact Arteta has players ready to make an impact only bodes well for a renewed title push.
The win will no doubt be satisfying for the Gunners but the fact that it has come at Goodison Park will leave an even wider smiler on Arteta’s face. Arsenal’s defeat at the same ground last season was one of a number of results which cost them in the race for the Premier League title.
That was certainly not an unfamiliar feeling with Arsenal winless away at Everton since 2017. They have also only scored two goals at Goodison in the time since.
Sunday’s showdown was equally as testing, with the Gunners looking for a long time as though they would depart frustrated. It is far too early in the season to say a win at Goodison could bolster their title chances but it no doubt allows Arsenal to breathe a sigh of relief.
Everton will be crestfallen having failed to keep Arsenal out despite keeping the Gunners at arms length throughout the majority of the clash. Things are looking up for the Toffees though with Dominic Calvert-Lewin returning sporting a mask after his cheek injury.
AFCON qualifier: Super Eagles thrash Sao Tome 6-0
Super Eagles of Nigeria wrapped up the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers with a comfortable 6-0 victory against Sao Tome and Principe at Nest of Champions, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state, on Sunday.
A hat-trick from Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen and a goal each from Ademola Lookman, Taiwo Awoniyi, and substitute, Samuel Chukwueze ensured the team finished top of Group A ahead of Guinea Bissau.
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