Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lifts the trophy after winning the English FA Community Shield football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 29, 2020. JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang underlined his value to Arsenal with a superb goal and the winning spot-kick as the Gunners beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Community Shield on Saturday.
Aubameyang put Mikel Arteta’s side ahead in the first half at Wembley with a typically eye-catching strike.
Japan’s Takumi Minamino equalised with his first goal for Liverpool late in the second half of the annual pre-season friendly between the Premier League champions and FA Cup winners.
In the shoot-out, Liverpool’s young striker Rhian Brewster was the only player to miss, hitting the bar with their third penalty before Aubameyang calmly dispatched the decisive spot-kick.
As if Arteta needed any reminding, it was another sign of the influence wielded by his captain Aubameyang, who is yet to commit his long-term future to the club as he enters the final year of his contract.
Arsenal Win Community Shield
Arsenal players run to celebrate after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2nd R) scored his team’s first goal during the English FA Community Shield football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 29, 2020. JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP
Gabon forward Aubameyang has kept Arsenal waiting nervously during protracted talks and he demurred when asked in a post-match interview if he was ready to sign the club’s contract offer.
Arteta has remained confident publicly that the 31-year-old will stay, but he must hope his talisman’s status is resolved before the Premier League season starts on September 12.
For Liverpool, it was the second successive season they have lost the Community Shield on penalties after being beaten by Manchester City last term.
That is unlikely to concern coach Jurgen Klopp too much given the champions’ lack of rest and preparation since winning the title for the first time in 30 years.