Arsenal beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Community Shield at Wembley
Sunday 30 August 2020 09:43, UK
Mikel Arteta remains positive over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future after his leading contribution in Arsenal's Community Shield shootout win over Liverpool.
Aubameyang fired the Gunners to their second Wembley triumph of the month as Arteta's side overcame the Premier League champions in the traditional season curtain-raiser.
August started with the Gabon forward inspiring the Gunners to a record 14th FA Cup win and ended with him wrapping up another morale-boosting victory.
Doubts remain over the striker's future with the 31-year-old's current contract set to expire in less than 12 months but talks are ongoing.
Arteta said: "I keep saying the same thing [on Aubameyang's future]. I try to do my job which is to convince him that he's at the right place and the right environment here to produce moments like he's done today and he did here just three weeks ago.
"I am very positive that he's going to sign. There are a lot of things that are involved in a contract deal and we're trying to solve them.
"I'm not worried [about the situation with Aubameyang]. We can only try to do as much as possible to convince the player or tell them what we think about him. We can put all the cards on the table to try to keep him here but afterwards it's down to the player and the agent to agree to that.
"I think we've built a really good relationship between us and hopefully we can do it. Now, I am confident and I'm happy. I can see how he behaves every day and how much he works in training. It's a really good sign."
Aubameyang saw his fine curling effort cancelled out by Liverpool substitute Takumi Minamino as the match finished 1-1, but the Arsenal captain would seal another triumph by scoring the winning penalty in the subsequent shootout.
Arteta's next challenge is to convert these excellent one-off performances in cup games at Wembley into sustained success in a Premier League season.
The Gunners finished 43 points off Liverpool last campaign, and Arteta added: "That's a different task. We've beaten top teams consistently in the past two months but obviously after 10 months, the table showed last season that we are very, very far away.
"The gap is enormous and we have to try to close that gap as quickly as possible. In order to do that, there's a lot of aspects in our game that we still have to improve."
Rhian Brewster missed the only spot-kick as the Gunners won 5-4 on an afternoon that only underlined the need to get Aubameyang's new deal over the line.
It means Liverpool are the first side ever to lose the Community Shield on penalties in back-to-back years - but Jurgen Klopp played down the significance of the defeat.
Klopp said: "We were here to win the game, I hope that much was obvious. We didn't lose the game but we lost the competition. If we scored earlier that would've helped but there wasn't enough time.
"I was pleased with parts of the game. I know what situation we're in from a physical and technical point of view. Against a 5-4-1 and a side with a low block you need fresh legs. Now we have two weeks to prepare the new season.
"We had to get control back of the game and we had that in the second half. Arsenal didn't really create chances and we had to work hard to win back the ball. We had our two or three big moments that we didn't take and that's the reason for the result."
The difficulty facing Liverpool in strengthening a title-winning squad this summer has perhaps been underlined by Minamino's period of integration since his January move from Red Bull Salzburg.
But the Japanese forward got off the mark for his new team in Saturday's Community Shield shootout loss to Arsenal and Klopp was pleased with the player's overall contribution off the bench.
"It was big for him and big for us because it's the only thing he's lacked with us since he arrived. He hadn't scored but had been close in plenty of moments.
"The shape he's in is obviously good and I think everyone could see that when he came on. The goal is the logical step after performing well in pre-season. I'm very pleased for him."
Klopp conceded that penalties shootouts are always a bit of a "lottery" as he congratulated Arsenal on their success despite feeling his side created enough chances to win the game.
The Liverpool boss turned to Brewster in the second minute of stoppage time, but his miss means a second successive Community Shield defeat on penalties ahead of the start of the new Premier League season.
Klopp added: "We all have to constantly learn and prove that we can deal with defeats. We lost the competition today as a team and he was part of that. He could've scored with the penalty or if somebody else would've missed it he would've had the same feeling. I was in the situation myself as a player and it's not nice, but there are bigger catastrophes. It's part of the deal.
"With his shooting and finishing technique, I don't think there will ever be a goalkeeper in touch with the ball inside the area. But missing it as he did, it's possible because he takes full risk. I've never seen him miss a penalty before since we've worked together but it can happen.
"Dealing with defeats in football is always an important lesson and this will not harm him. We won't let it happen and if somebody is to blame it's me as I made the decision. I wanted him in that position as I know he's naturally a confident boy and he's a finisher. Usually he's really good."
The international break takes place over the next 10 days before squads return ahead of the start of the new Premier League season on September 12.
Arsenal travel to face Fulham at 12.30pm later that day champions Liverpool host Leeds live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event. Coverage starts at 4.30pm with kick-off at 5.30pm.