London - Arsenal
have delivered a rousing demonstration of their Premier League title
credentials by overwhelming league champions Manchester City 3-0 in the
Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
Buoyed by last season's FA
Cup success over Hull City, Arsene Wenger's side took charge with
first-half goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey before substitute
Olivier Giroud added a glorious long-range third.
With £30 million new signing Alexis Sanchez also
impressing on a sunny afternoon in northwest London, Arsenal's fans will
hope it proves the precursor to a sustained title challenge, after
seeing their side fall away last season.
Victory in the
traditional season curtain-raiser -- which witnessed the first use of
vanishing spray in English football -- suggests Arsenal are in fine
fettle ahead of their opening league fixture at home to Crystal Palace
In mitigation for City, manager Manuel Pellegrini
could point to the absences of first-teamers such as captain Vincent
Kompany and Sergio Aguero, but his side's rustiness will be cause for
concern ahead of their season opener at Newcastle United.
millstone of a nine-year trophy drought no longer weighing them down,
Arsenal made an assured start on their return to Wembley, with new
signing Mathieu Debuchy obliging Gael Clichy to head a cross clear.
then blocked a shot by Samir Nasri -- lustily booed by the fans of his
former club -- at the other end, before Cazorla gave Arsenal the lead in
the 21st minute.
Jack Wilshere was felled on the edge of the box
by Dedryck Boyata, but play continued and the ball ran to Cazorla, who
threw Clichy off-balance with a clever feint before drilling home
looked to get City level by racing away from Calum Chambers and teeing
up Stevan Jovetic, but Laurent Koscielny produced a timely block.
Moments later it was 2-0.
From Sanchez's sweeping through ball,
Yaya Sanogo played a pass inside that was slightly behind Ramsey, but
the Welshman checked his run and smartly chipped the ball on before
drilling a shot into the bottom-left corner.
It had been a less
than ideal first 45 minutes for new City goalkeeper Willy Caballero --
who was preferred to Joe Hart -- but he helped limit the damage in
first-half stoppage time by rushing out to prevent Sanchez collecting a
pass from Sanogo.
Sanchez made way for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
after a lively first-half cameo on the right flank, while City were
given fresh impetus by the introduction of David Silva.
twice threatened to halve Arsenal's lead, heading against the post and
blazing the rebound over before seeing a rasping 15-yard shot blocked by
But Giroud put the game to bed on the hour,
gathering the ball in the inside-right channel and launching a superb,
dipping strike from 25 yards that plunged beneath the crossbar.
Arsenal's fans goaded their City counterparts by aping their backwards-facing 'Poznan' goal celebration.
teams will resume hostilities in the Premier League on September 19, by
which time Pellegrini will expect to have witnessed significant