There wasn’t nine years of waiting this time. Arsenal dominated from the opening minutes in the FA Community Shield against City, and rightfully lifted the trophy at the end of the match, winning 3-0. While it may not be the most important silverware, it is still a trophy nonetheless. This game should be yet another lift for the entire club, boosting the morale even more in a wonderful summer. When the Premier League opens next weekend, Arsenal supporters can feel rightfully confident.
I don’t have much time to write today, so I’ll save most of my analysis tomorrow morning. But I have to say it was a terrific day to be a Gooner. Arsenal look a devastating side going forward, and all day, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey were creating chances and finding space. Manchester City were missing a lot, especially in defense, but Arsenal certainly look a side on par with the reigning Premier League champions. It could be a fun year.
Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud scored three good goals, and Arsenal were comfortably on the front foot for much of the game. With the German players arriving back on Monday, Arsenal are in a great place as the season begins.
Here are my player ratings for Arsenal’s FA Community Shield winning side.
Plater Ratings (1-10)
Yaya Sanogo – 7/10 – The young Frenchman didn’t look out of place in the starting XI in the first half, doing a little bit of everything up top. As always, his movement was quite impressive, and while his tendency to stray offside needs to change, his pace was a nuisance for Manchester City. His assist for Ramsey might have been a tad fortunate, but it was Sanogo’s run that put Arsenal in that positive position.
Alexis Sanchez – 7/10 – Sanchez looks like he’s going to fit in seamlessly. Some of his ideas didn’t always work out, but whenever he got on the ball, Arsenal looked threatening. He may have only played a half, but he put in a great debut performance. You have to think as he gets more comfortable with his teammates, he’ll only get more dangerous.
Santi Cazorla – 7.5/10 – It was rather fitting that Cazorla scored the opening goal after a summer in which he’d been generally overlooked. The little Spaniard put in a great shift on the wing, as his movement and passing was excellent. His goal was superbly taken after cleverly letting the ball run across his body. Cazorla’s got a lot more to give this year, and his willingness to track back could make him an attractive option on the left wing.
Aaron Ramsey – 9/10 – Ramsey’s late first half goal was emblematic of his performance on the day. He made it look easy, scoring from only a few yards out, but so much more went into the goal. He made a run from half field to get into position to receive the ball from Sanogo, and deftly chipped the ball past the first defender before firing it into the far corner. Ramsey was everywhere on the pitch, always choosing the right runs to make and finding the right balls. It looks like it will be another banner year from the Welshman.
Jack Wilshere – 7/10 – Wilshere didn’t have a standout game, but he was quite effective in the midfield, linking up well with everyone around him. Whether it was releasing pace down the flanks, or simply keeping possession, Wilshere had a good day. Defensively, he did well in his own right, putting in a couple of decent challenges.
Mikel Arteta – 7/10 – Arteta put in an admirable shift in his usual defensive midfield role. He was composed on the ball, linking up well with his fellow midfielders, and never strayed too far out of position. Against Yaya Toure, Arteta held his ground this time out. Many don’t think he can be on the field if Arsenal want to win a title, but Arteta could well prove everyone wrong.
Kieran Gibbs – 6.5/10 – Gibbs had a lot of success getting forward in the first half, and combined well with Cazorla all day. He struggled a little bit with Jesus Navas on the wing, but there were no disastrous moments. At this point in his career. Gibbs will be counted on as a consistent, top of the line left back.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5/10 – In only one half of action, Koscielny put in a decent shift, tracking City’s runners nicely. With Chambers pushed a bit forward, Koscielny was always there to clean up anything in behind. His one on one defending was also impressive. Let’s hope it wasn’t an injury that forced him off at the half.
Calum Chambers – 7.5/10 – Chambers seemed a lot more comfortable intercepting passes and stepping higher up the pitch rather than defending one on one closer to goal. He is clearly still learning the center back position, but overall, he made a bright start to his Arsenal career. He made a couple of clearances with his head, and was quite effective picking off any loose passes from City in the final third.
Mathieu Debuchy – 7/10 – Right from the start, Arsneal’s new right back was bombing forward and sending in crosses towards Sanogo. He and Sanchez seem to have formed a quick understanding. Defensively, Debuchy made an excellent block from a Samir Nasri shot in the first half. He should have done better with a header early in the second half, as he was caught a bit flat footed, but Szczesny was there to save Stevan Jovetic’s effort in the end.
Wojciech Szczesny – 7/10 – The Arsenal keeper put in an assured display at the back for the most part. He had a quiet first half, but when called upon the the second half, he was there to stop shots and claim any crosses. He was quick off his line and confident in the air. He made one questionable decision on Jovetic’s header, and didn’t reach a corner late on, but overall, Szczesny looked good. He seems inspired to play the sweeper role this year, and hopefully he didn’t concuss himself late on.
Olivier Giroud (46th) – 7.5/10 – A wonderfully taken, albeit slightly deflected goal highlighted a great performance from the Frenchman. Still lacking ffitness, Giroud only played the second half, but it was a successful afternoon. He held up play nicely, and showed off his strength on the ball. He should be fully fit soon.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (46th) – 5.5/10 – The winger came on at half but didn’t make much of an impact in his time on the field. Much of his work was on the defensive end, and while he let his men get by him a few times, he was usually quick enough to get back in position. He’ll be disappointed not to have gotten on the ball more.
Nacho Monreal (46th) – 6.5/10 Back at center back, Monreal was solid in the back next to Chambers. He handled the strength of City’s frontmen admirably. Who would have expected Monreal to be confidently taking the ball off Yaya Toure in the box? It was a much better performance from the converted left back.
Mathieu Flamini (67th) – 6/10 – Flamini will have wanted to start the game over Arteta, so it was notable that he started the match on the bench. And when he came on, he was pushed ahead of Arteta, showing that there is a clear pecking order at defensive midfielder right now. He got in one good position going forward, but overall, it was a pretty quiet appearance from Flamini.
Tomas Rosicky (70th) – N/A – Rosicky made a 20 minute cameo in place of Santi Cazorla, and looked confident on the ball. By that point though, Arsenal weren’t sending many men forward, so there wasn’t much for Rosicky to do.
Joel Campbell (85th) – N/A – Campbell made a late run out at Wembley, but didn’t do much more than run. He nearly got on a ball in the final third , but wasn’t quite quick enough. He’ll be happy enough just to see the field.