Arsenal could be surprise opponents for Liverpool in the Community Shield next month even if they lose their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, according to reports.
The curtain-raising showpiece is usually contested by the winners of the FA Cup and the champions of the Premier League, with the second-placed side in the league taking the spot if a team does the double.
But UEFA’s rearranged European tournaments have created big issues with the FA’s hopes of staging the Community Shield this year.
The Europa League final does not take place until August 21, with the Champions League final following two days later, and Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are still involved – as well as being in the FA Cup semi-finals.
With the proposed date for the Community Shield currently just a week later, on August 30, any team that wins the FA Cup and also goes deep in European competition will be unable to take part.
However, according to the Daily Mail, FA bosses are still absolutely determined for the Community Shield to go ahead as planned, even if United or City win the FA Cup and play in a European final.
Their new plan is to invite the most successful club in the Shield’s history to take part against Liverpool instead, which is Arsenal, who have won the trophy 15 times.
The proposal represents something of a double-edged sword for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who twice won the trophy as captain of the club in 2014 and 2015, as well as lifting it while coach at Manchester City.
On the one hand, it would give Arteta an early shot at lifting silverware at the start of the 2020/21 campaign, but on the other hand it would cut into the already preciously short preparation time Premier League clubs will be afforded.
As things stand, players are only expected to receive two weeks of holiday after the final game of the current season with Premier League bosses hoping to get the next campaign up and running for the weekend of September 12.
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