Arsenal opened up the 2014/2015 season with a 3-0 win over Manchester City at Wembley in the Community shield. First half strikes from midfield duo Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey was followed up by a second half goal from substitute Oliver Giroud. Both teams were without absent players still not back from the World cup with Arsenal missing the three World Cup Winners in Mertesacker, Ozil and Podolski and City missing the likes of Kompany, Aguero and Zabaleta.
Arsenal started new signings Callum Chambers and Alexis Sanchez in their starting 11 with City including Fernando with Willy Caballero in goal ahead of Joe Hart. In a scrappy opening period neither side troubled the opponents goal, Arsenal were having more of the possession with them outnumbering City in the middle of midfield. Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta were finding spaces in among the City pair of Toure and Fernando. Both teams began to look dangerous down their right flanks with Debuchy having a cross blocked whilst Navas was able to get beyond Kieran Gibbs. The Spanish international crossed the ball back to Nasri who had his left foot shot brilliantly blocked by Chambers in the box. Arsenal were beginning to stamp their mark on the game and took the lead after 21minutes. Sanogo played a little ball into Wilshere on the edge of the box, he let the ball run to Cazorla. Cazorla brilliantly fainted left losing Clichy to find space to shoot across the keeper to find the net. 4 minutes later Sanogo had an opportunity to add to his four goals in the Emirates Cup last weekend, a good move down the left saw Cazorla feed the Arsenal youngster but he dragged his shot wide.
Arsenal were still outnumbering City in midfield but the Premier League champions looked dangerous on the break with Jovetic, Navas and Kolarov looking to exploit the Arsenal defense. Kolarov managed to get beyond Debuchy and cross low to the waiting Nasri. As the ball was approaching the retired Frenchman, the ball took a bobble meaning he didn’t connect with the ball. City were more in the game but as they pushed more bodies forward Alexis was beginning to find space in the attacking third. 3 minutes before the break Arsenal doubled their lead, Alexis played a ball for Sanogo in the right channel, the youngster held it up playing a cute ball to on rushing Ramsey. The Welsh captain took one touch losing the City center half, and finish low beyond Caballero at the far post. Arsenal looked a lot sharper and the numbers in the middle of midfield were helping them retain possession longer than City.
Half time saw the introduction of the diminutive Spanish international David Silva who began to create an impact for City. 7 minutes after the restart Navas got behind Gibbs to pick out Navas at the back post. The Serbian striker was in good form after scoring 5 in 3 in the champions cup in USA but he saw his header hit the post with rebound being blazed over. The introduction of Silva allowed City to retain the ball creating more opportunities for them. 3 minutes after hitting the post Jovetic forced Szczesny into a fine save after being picked by Kolarov on the edge of the box.
Sanogo was replaced by Giroud at half time and it didn’t take long for the French striker to open his account for the season. Picking the ball up 25 yards from goal, he weighed up his options and unleashed a dipping left foot shot was which went up and over Caballero in the City goal. City were not up to their normal high standards with Arsenal’s midfield working well limiting the ball for City. Mathieu Debuchy and Callum Chambers looked accomplished at the back both looking assured on the ball. Alexis had the pace and the versatility to play in several positions in the Arsenal team. With Giroud firing, Campbell looking good in preseason and attacking options in Alexis and Chamberlain, Arsenal have options at the top. After losing Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona, they need to replace the void left by the departing Belgian and still need some legs in defensive midfield with the question poised will Arteta be able to play 38 games a season?
Arsenal look like they are in good form going into their 4 games in 15 days starting with the league opener against Crystal Palace next week before away in a Champions League Qualifier against Besiktas. Manchester City were not at full strength by all means with them missing 3 of their normal back 4 and will surely play better in their league opener at Newcastle United next weekend. The league will bring different motivations for the players, but with Negredo out injured they need Aguero, Dzeko and Jovetic to fire.