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Community Shield Review: Arsenal make a winning statement

The curtain-raiser to the new top-flight season took place on Sunday and it was Arsenal who were celebrating after they claimed a penalty-shootout success over Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

The Gunners triumphed 4-1 on penalties after the two teams had played out a 1-1 draw in the Wembley sunshine, with both goals coming late in the piece.

City thought it was they that would be getting their hands on the first piece of silverware of the new season when Cole Palmer's sumptuous finish put them in front inside the final 15 minutes.

However, with almost the last kick of the game, Leandro Trossard's deflected strike levelled things up for Arsenal and took the game to penalties, where the Gunners did not put a foot wrong, while Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri both missed for City.

While unlikely to have a huge bearing on the upcoming Premier League season, Arsenal will feel they have laid down something of a marker and they are 5/1 in the To Win Outright market to go on and be crowned champions, while City remain the 8/11 favourites.

Gunners shake off Citizens hoodoo

Arsenal went into Sunday's curtain-raiser with the memory of last season's failed title push still fresh in their minds, as the Gunners had topped the Premier League standings for 248 days during 2022/23, only to be pipped to the post by City during the run-in.

Two convincing defeats to City during the final months of last season contributed to the Gunners finishing behind the Citizens in the final standings and those losses formed part of a run which has seen Mikel Arteta's side lose eight games on the spin against Pep Guardiola's treble heroes.

The writing looked like it was on the wall for Arsenal supporters when Palmer curled City in front at Wembley, but Arteta's new-look side, which included summer recruits Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber, showed plenty of grit to pull themselves back into the contest.

The victory was Arsenal's 17th Community Shield success - only Manchester United have won more - and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale summed up the team's mood after the match by suggesting the "mental block" they previously had when facing City had now gone.

Arsenal are 5/1 to lift the Premier League title for the first time in 20 years this season, while they are 11/4 to finish best of the rest in the To Win Outright Without Manchester City market.

Unwanted treble for Guardiola

Guardiola made no secret of his desire for City to win this year's Community Shield ahead of kick-off, but it was a familiar feeling for the 52-year-old and his side after the contest, as it proved to be the third year in a row the Citizens have lost the season curtain-raiser.

In the two previous campaigns City have gone on to win a combined four major trophies, including the treble last season, so Guardiola certainly will not be panicking after Sunday's narrow defeat.

There have been changes at City over the summer, with Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic coming in - the latter featured from the off at Wembley - but there has also been a slight changing of the guard with Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez, who were both key players for Guardiola, departing for pastures new.

This new-look City may take a little bit of time to find their feet, although they remain the 8/11 favourites to become the first team in English top-flight history to be crowned champions for four seasons in a row.

The goals of Erling Haaland will likely be crucial to those hopes. The Norwegian was uncharacteristically subdued at Wembley, but after scoring 52 goals in his debut season for the club across all competitions, he is unsurprisingly the 8/13 favourite to top the Premier League scoring charts during 2023/24.

What next for title rivals?

Both Arsenal and City will have to move on quickly from their Community Shield exploits as the new Premier League season gets underway later this week.

It will be defending champions City who raise the curtain on the new season, as they head to Turf Moor on Friday evening to take on a newly-promoted Burnley side who are of course managed by former Citizens captain Vincent Kompany.

City are 3/10 to get off to a winning start to the season, but Burnley, who have earned plenty of plaudits under Kompany after running away with the Championship title, are 7/1 to spring a surprise - the draw is a 21/4 shout.

Arsenal will then get their league campaign underway at lunchtime on Saturday, with Arteta's side set to welcome Nottingham Forest to the Emirates Stadium.

Forest beat Arsenal 1-0 at the City Ground in May - a result that confirmed Man City as champions - and the Gunners will have revenge on their minds.

A home win for Arsenal can be backed at 1/4 in the Full Time Result market, with Forest available at 17/2 and the draw 11/2.

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