The traditional curtain raiser for the new English football season is upon us as FA Cup winners, Arsenal, face Premier League champions, Liverpool, at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The game kicks off at 4.30pm and Liverpool go into it as strong favourites as they look to claim a sixteenth win or share of the trophy; whilst Arsenal will be aiming to secure a fifteenth win or share of the title.
Arsenal v Liverpool
The FA Community Shield, or Charity Shield as it was formerly known, was first played in 1908 and sees the current FA Cup holders face the current League champions at Wembley.
Arsenal won the 2020 FA Cup by beating Chelsea in the final at the beginning of August. Despite going an early goal down, the Gunners ran out 2-1 winners thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to claim the FA Cup for a record fourteenth time in the clubs’ history, and secure Mikel Arteta’s first honour as a manager.
Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time in their history, winning it by 18 points from Manchester City. It was the Reds first top-flight title success for 30 years and added to their Champions League and World Club Cup crowns.
Liverpool and Arsenal met three times last season with plenty of goals in each encounter. Liverpool won the first Premier League meeting between the clubs at Anfield, running out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Joel Matip and a Mo Salah brace – Lucas Torreira replied late on for the visitors.
The second encounter was in the EFL Cup quarter-finals, which was decided on penalties after an incredible 5-5 draw in normal time – again, Liverpool came away winners. However, when the sides last met in July, again in the league, Arsenal won 2-1 following some calamitous defensive mistakes from the already crowned champions.
Over recent years, Liverpool have certainly held the upper hand in the head-to-head record, and that defeat to Arsenal in July was the first against the Gunners in 11 games. These clubs last met in the Community Shield in 2002 with Arsenal winning 1-0.
With Arsenal’s season not finishing until August 1 in the FA Cup final, they have played just one pre-season friendly in the build up to this game. The Gunners ran out 4-1 winners at League One side, MK Dons.
Liverpool have had a couple of friendlies, both against foreign opposition. They have beaten Stuttgart 3-0 and drawn 2-2 with Salzburg.
New signings to look out for
The FA Community Shield is often the first chance fans get to see any new signings their club might have made over the summer. Arsenal have brought in Willian from Chelsea, Pablo Mari from Flamengo, and Cedric Soares from Southampton.
Liverpool have made just one summer signing so far, securing the signature of Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos for £11.75m, whilst Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana have left Anfield.
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