11 August: losing and winning to Liverpool in the Charity Shield

11 August 1979 and 2002: losing and winning to Liverpool in the Charity Shield

1979: Arsenal lost 3-1 to Liverpool in the Charity Shield.  The crowd of 92,000 was Arsenal’s highest ever for a charity shield game. 

This was Arsenal’s tenth Charity Shield appearance and Liverpool’s ninth but was also Arsenal’s first appearance in the Shield since 12 October 1953. Arsenal’s team was…

Jennings, Rice, Nelson (Young), Talbot, O’Leary, Walford, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price (Hollins), Rix.

Liverpool were not just the firm favourites they were the absolute favourites, having gained a record number of first division points the previous season, and conceded the fewest goals in a 42-game Football League season – just 16.

However, although everyone expected Liverpool to dominate they failed to create chances in the match and instead Stapleton came close to scoring early on.

But as half-time approached, Kennedy, so very much part of Arsenal at the start of the decade, and a man who should never ever have been allowed to leave but was now with Liverpool, passed to McDermott who scored.

Arsenal looked as if they could make it back in the second half until Sammy Nelson collided with McDermott and went off concussed with Willie Young coming on as a replacement. As Arsenal tried to adjust Liverpool scored the second.

With the balance of the team gone Hollins came on for David Price, and once again, as Arsenal re-adjusted Liverpool scored.  Alan Sunderland scored a consolation goal for Arsenal.

2002:  23 years to the day after Arsenal played Liverpool in the Charity Shield, Gilberto Silva played his first competitive match for Arsenal (after the usual pre-season tour) against Liverpool in Community Shield.  Gilberto scored the only goal. 

As for what happened next… on 18 August with Tony Adams having retired, Patrick Vieira took over as captain for the first game of the season.   It was Arsenal 2 Birmingham 0 and what made that important was that this victory made it 14 consecutive wins in the Premier League, a new record for the top division in England.  The record of 13 consecutive wins was jointly held by Tottenham, Sunderland and Preston North End.

As for the match, it was a doddle.   Thierry Henry scored from a free-kick and Sylvain Wiltord showed us what he could do all on his own, to make it 2-0 ahead after 24 minutes.  Arsenal then strolled through the match.  Birmingham’s central contribution was that they got Aliou Cisse sent off 17 minutes from the end.

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