Morning all – how we all doing after yesterday’s late Community Shield drama, eh?

I thought it was a very interesting display in the end; plenty for us to chew over and whilst it wasn’t exactly a barnstorming game, it was a fascinating one that will have had all of the tacticos salivating over two teams who we know are starting to get to know each other rather well now.

Our pre season up until this point had been very much a mixed bag. Defensively we’ve looked shaky, Arteta had been tinkering with his line up all summer all over the pitch, plus we’d had the injury to Gabriel Jesus which wasn’t ideal. I went in to the game in the pub beforehand saying that I didn’t think we’d win. But as Dave pointed out to me beforehand – I do that every time we go to Wembley! And we – Arteta too – have a pretty decent record there to be fair.

And that record continued yesterday, with us winning it on penalties after leaving it very late to put a smile on Arsenal fans’ faces. Before we go to the details of the game though, a few penalty-related flowers need to be given out to our takers, all of whom scored and Fabio Vieira particularly bagged a very impressive winning penalty in to the top corner. Kudos to him!

As for the game itself, I think Arteta named a side that is as close to the one he’ll play on Saturday next weekend at home to Forest and thankfully what we saw was a lot more defensive solidity about us than we have shown for parts of the US Tour and back home in England. Ramsdale, White, Saliba and then Timber came in and I have to say all of them did a pretty good job of keeping City quiet in the first half. City had the first 15 to 20 minutes I thought in terms of possession, but apart from a few shots dragged wide we didn’t exactly see Ramsdale’s palms stung that much. I thought it was a cagey opening half and we grew in to it as the first half went on; we created a couple of chances and Kai Havertz – playing in that central striking role – had a good chance that was blocked and then probably should have scored when he ran on to the ball late in the first half. I was with Giles and said to him throughout the game that I didn’t think Havertz up top worked and whilst his hold up play was ok and he gave us more of a target man focal point up front, I didn’t think he was that amazing as a striker. There was one moment in the first half where a ball was floated in to the left channel and you could see that he probably could have got to it if he’d have put the after burners on, but he just didn’t bother. Then there was the couple of half chances he had and with the second one I just couldn’t help but think that had it have been Eddie, or Jesus, or dare I say it even Balogun, then perhaps we would have been one up going in to the break.

I like Havertz as a left eight, I’m just not too keen on him as our central striker.

With Havertz up top it meant Rice and Partey both saw game time and I have to say I thought it worked quite well; there were times when Rice dropped in and was sat alongside Partey in more of a double pivot, there was times when Partey pressed on a little more (although admittedly not that often) and it was a game in which you could see that Arteta wanted us to be a little more unpredictable as we shifted our approach depending on whether we were in possession or out, or depending on the game state. That’s the ‘unpredictability’ that Arteta had talked about and you could see that we had some good options. We looked to go long at times and City themselves didn’t exactly replicate their approach against us when they just cut through us with long balls. To be fair that might have been because Ederson and De Bruyne weren’t on the pitch and when De Bruyne did make it on in the second half, that is when City got their goal.

It was a very good finish by Palmer and of course De Bruyne is always going to find a player when he is given time, but Arteta will probably be slightly annoyed that Partey got robbed in the middle of the pitch and then Tierney looked a little clunky in his clearance. He was caught on his heels a little bit and it probably doesn’t help the general feeling that his days at Arsenal might be, sadly, numbered. This is especially off the back of the performance from Timber who did a superb job in at left back and I say Zinchenko has a job on his hands if he wants a starting berth back at the club right now. Timber never really put a foot wrong and although I didn’t watch all of the Monaco game in midweek, that’s the noises I had heard from friends and people I follow on Twitter too. In the stadium I said to the lads around me that I think I’m going to like Jurrien Timber quite a lot in an Arsenal shirt, you know.

We went behind and I didn’t think we’d have anything to get back at City if I’m honest, because of the nature of what looked like two teams cancelling each other out, but we have to give our props to this Arsenal team, because they kept battling even with the lack of chances across both teams in the game. Trossard came on and looked absolutely brilliant. His goal might have had a massive slice of fortune about it, but I’ll be dammed if he didn’t deserve it, given the summer he has had. I honestly hope that Arteta is thinking about Trossard in the number nine. Or I’d have Eddie too ahead of Havertz. Both offer different things but Trossard has the trickery and ability to bring others in to play and based on yesterday you’d have to say he has the form too. Eddie when he came on looked lively and was running the channels with a lot more voraciousness than Havertz. Perhaps this is just a stylistic thing but I just like my strikers to be rapid, physical and be able to be slotted in behind. Like Thierry used to do, or Auba when he was in his prime. Havertz just doesn’t do that and so for next weekend I hope Arteta goes back to Eddie or preferably Trossard up top.

So we won a ‘trophy’, it’s a nice little way to start the season and hopefully gives the players a little lift ahead of the season starting properly next Saturday lunchtime. There are still some things that I’m sure Arteta will want to iron out but we looked a lot better I thought and I was pleased at the way in which we were able to neurtalise City’s passing lanes and how we set up defensively to be more solid and less open. Let’s hope that continues next weekend and for the remainder of this season.

Catch you wonderful humans tomorrow.

Ooh, quick ‘p.s.’. Stuart Attwell – what a joker. Very City-heavy in his view, allowed them to get away with persistent fouling and there was even a yellow he offered to Havertz for a trip in the second half, for which every subsequent trip was ignored. What a piece of work that guy is. Hopefully we don’t see him too often this coming season.