Mikel Arteta has vowed to do everything in his power to persuade Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay after Arsenal’s skipper continued his Wembley love affair.
Aubameyang started the new campaign by scoring his side’s goal against Liverpool, then converting the decisive kick in the shootout as Arsenal won the Community Shield 5-4 on penalties after the game had finished 1-1. Liverpool substitute Rhian Brewster was the only man to miss from 12 yards.
Aubameyang finished last season by scoring two goals in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City, then repeated the feat as Arsenal beat Chelsea in the final.
His future, however, remains unresolved despite Arsenal’s attempts to get him to sign a new deal.
Without Aubameyang’s class and ruthlessness, Arsenal would be a significantly different team but he looked overjoyed when leading celebrations after receiving the prize and his manager has promised to make a compelling argument for him to remain at the club.
‘Big moments, big games and big players,’ said Arteta, when asked about Aubameyang’s contribution. ‘I keep saying the same thing. I am trying to convince him he is in the right place. He has done here what he did four weeks ago. I am very positive that he is going to sign.’
Arteta, who had special praise for goalkeeper Emi Martinez, was thrilled to lift his second trophy and said: ‘You never get used to winning. I knew the challenge we faced today against this incredible opponent. Thank you very much to the players for the effort and performance.
‘The courage of the team, how aggressive we were without the ball and against the Liverpool press. I am pleased and knew in the second half we would suffer. But in the penalties we had courage to do them right.
‘In the last 10 minutes we took the ball and played in the final third. I am pleased how they competed. It creates belief.’
This was a case of history repeating for Liverpool; 12 months ago they went behind to Manchester City, clawed the contest back to 1-1 but then lost on spot-kicks.
Brewster, the England Under-21 international, was devastated to miss and his team-mates were clearly upset at finishing second.
Jurgen Klopp, who saw substitute Takumi Minamino score his first goal in English football to level the game, was satisfied with Liverpool’s performance but is looking for more in the coming weeks as they begin the defence of their title.
‘We wanted to win the game,’ said Klopp. ‘I hope that was obvious. We didn’t lose the game but we lost the competition because of penalties, Aubameyang’s goal and we didn’t take our chances. We had the game going in the right direction in the second half but we didn’t have the time.
‘I’m pleased with the performance in parts. We had to play against a defensive block and for that you need fresh legs. We didn’t have fresh legs, although they were fresher than two or three days ago. Now we have two more weeks to prepare for the new season and we will use that.
‘The goal didn’t help at all, obviously. We had to gain control back and we did that in the second half but Arsenal were a constant threat on the counter-attack.
‘We had two or three big moments which we didn’t finish off.’