Arsenal back in business as Wenger demands consistency
Another Wembley date and another piece of silverware in the bag for slick Gunners
Arsenal 3 Manchester City 0. The Gunners picked up where they left off last season, scoring three goals at Wembley to win some silverware. In May it was a 3-2 victory over Hull City in the FA Cup Final that earned Arsenal their first trophy in nine years, and now just three months later the keys to the Emirates trophy cabinet are required once again as the Community Shield heads to north London for the first time since 2004.
It was a dazzling display from Arsenal, and they outclassed the Premier League champions who were lethargic and lacking in inventiveness against a Gunners side that looked sharp and slick despite the fact they were fielding three new players in Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy.
But it was two of the wise old heads who have the Gunners a 2-0 lead at the break with Santi Carzola scoring the first on 21 minutes and Aaron Ramsey doubling Arsenal's advantage three minutes before the interval. Substitute Oliver Giroud added a third on the hour mark, the French striker lofting the ball over the head of City goalkeeper Willy Caballero from the edge of the area to cap a miserable afternoon for the Sky Blues.
Sure, City were without eight key players – including Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero – but then Arsenal were without their three German World Cup stars as well as the injured Theo Walcott and goalkeeper David Ospina, the only one of the Gunners' quartet of summer signings missing from the action.
"The team that started isn't the normal starting XI and we have a week more to work," mused City boss Manuel Pellegrini, whose side open the defence of their title next Sunday away at Newcastle. Nonetheless the Chilean admitted they'd deserved to lose. "Arsenal played better than us, especially in the first half, and scored two goals," he said. "In the second half we had possession and chances to score but we didn't."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was in buoyant mood after the result though he cautioned against getting too carried away by the result. "Two things were important today: to win a trophy, even though it is not a major one, and to play well. I am very happy because we played some very good football," said the Frenchman. "To win today gives us a positive platform to prepare but now the Premier League starts and we have to start well at home because it's a derby, it's a very uncomfortable team [Crystal Palace]. It will be a different kind of game as well. Let's be on our toes and prepare well."
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Sunday's win from an Arsenal viewpoint was that it went some way towards erasing memories of last season's heavy defeat to Manchester City (6-3), one of several humiliations suffered by the Gunners at the hands of their main rivals. "We know that last year we were very consistent against the teams outside the top six and not consistent against the top six teams," said Wenger. "The year before it was reversed so let's hope that this year it will be right on both sides."