Arsenal have opened their campaign with more silverware, having beaten Manchester City 3-0 in the FA Community Shield at Wembley.
The traditional meeting between the Premier League winners and the FA Cup holders was comfortably won by the latter, who added the trophy to their cabinet for the first time since they beat Manchester United 3-1 a decade ago. Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey gave the Gunners a deserved 2-0 lead at the interval, and then Olivier Giroud scored the goal of the match to wrap up victory on the hour mark.
Arsene Wenger gave competitive debuts to summer signings Alexis Sanchez, who was replaced at half-time, Calum Chambers, who looked assured in the heart of the back four, and fullback Mathieu Debuchy, who showed how important his attacking threat could be with a number of impressive crosses into the opposition box. It was a promising performance by the Londoners, who will no doubt see this as perfect preparation ahead of their Premier League opener with Crystal Palace.
As for City, they looked sluggish for large periods of the match, but it is worth pointing out that Manuel Pellegrini’s selection was devoid of many of his usual first team. Bacary Sagna, who joined from Arsenal in the summer, was not included, and neither were usual centre-half partners Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis, the reliable Pablo Zabaleta, midfielder Fernandinho and star striker Sergio Aguero, whilst playmaker David Silva was only introduced as a half-time substitute for Samir Nasri. True, Wenger was also without the likes of Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Theo Walcott, but it had more of a ‘first-team feel’ than the side the champions began with.
One notable point of interest in Pellegrini’s side was the inclusion of Willy Caballero, the summer addition from Malaga, who started in goal at the expense of England international Joe Hart. The Argentine, who cost around £6million, was a regular for his previous club last season, and will not have made the move to England without the intention of dislodging City’s regular number one. Whilst it wasn’t the perfect start for the 32-year-old, it would be harsh to blame him for any of Arsenal’s goals, although he is expected to make way for Hart against Newcastle United next Sunday.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny (Monreal ht), Gibbs; Arteta; Sanchez (Oxlade-Chamberlain ht), Ramsey (Campbell 86), Wilshere (Flamini 68), Cazorla (Rosicky 70); Sanogo (Giroud ht)
Substitutes not used: Martinez
Manchester City: Caballero; Clichy, Boyata, Nastasic, Kolarov (Richards 76); Toure (Zuculini 60), Fernando; Navas (Sinclair 85), Dzeko (Milner, 60), Nasri (Silva ht); Jovetic
Substitutes not used: Hart, Rekik
Referee: M Oliver (Northumberland)