After Arsenal‘s deserved win over Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday, it seems to have been a little too easy for some Gunners fans to get slightly carried away with the team and their hopes for the upcoming season. And whilst a win is clearly always better than a loss, putting the game into some kind of context is probably wise for both Arsenal and City fans.
The Community Shield is sometimes looked at as an opportunity to lay down a marker for the new season, but the reality of the game is far from that. In the last four years, only one Community Shield winner has actually gone on to win a trophy when the real business began. And in a World Cup year, the game takes on even less relevancy with a host of players missing for both teams.
The win on Sunday showed Arsenal can now win the big games, didn’t it? It showed that they are over the hurdle of struggling against the better teams in the league, right? Well, it depends how seriously you want to take a City team that was missing at least seven of their first choice starters — it could be eight or nine depending on your preference in certain positions.
City did still manage to put a good team out, and Arsenal were clearly better as both the result and their quality of play showed. Arsenal played very well, and that cannot be overlooked, but the whole game would obviously have been a completely different affair for both teams had missing players like Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, Eliaquim Managala, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, David Silva, Per Mertesacker, Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart and Fernandinho started the game.
It couldn’t be anything but a different game — whether the result or the margin of result changes or not — with players of that quality on the field, and City obviously looking a lot stronger. Which is why it is impossible to read much from the game that did occur. It would be dangerous to place too much faith in what the game means, which is a pitfall Arsenal fans have fell into a few times in recent seasons, after being let down when it comes to the crunch.
The current Arsenal team does look to be a serious threat for the Premier League crown, but only time will really tell how serious the threat is — it could well be fools gold once again, rather than the real deal. In all honestly, in recent history, it usually is. Which is why Arsenal fans must still proceed with caution.
This could be the year for the Gunners to finally pickup a major trophy again, but there are other top Premier League teams who all feel the exact same way right now. The Premier League landscape is wide open and the picture will only truly become clearer over the coming months, not during a one-off Community Shield game between two teams lacking both fitness and their best players.