ARSENAL inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City to lift the FA Community Shield at Wembley.
Scorers: Arsenal - Cazorla (21), Ramsey (42), Giroud (60)
Back at the scene of their FA Cup triumph, the Gunners tore into a lacklustre City side – for whom Willy Caballero started in goal ahead of Joe Hart – and were in control by half-time through well-worked goals by Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, whose
extra-time winner had beaten Hull on 17 May to end a nine-season trophy drought.
Substitute Olivier Giroud cracked home a third goal from 25 yards on the hour as City were subdued, but both rival managers Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger will know full well much sterner tests lie ahead before they hand out the honours again in nine months’ time.
City did not have any Englishmen in their starting XI, but £30 million Brazil midfielder Fernando was, while Bacary Sagna watched from the stands against his old club as did former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, signed on loan from New York City FC.
Arsenal fielded summer recruits Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy, with World Cup winners Mesut Özil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski all still absent ahead of next week’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.
Arsenal made most of the early running, as Sanchez combined well with Jack Wilshere
When City did get a corner, former Gunner Samir Nasri was loudly jeered by the Arsenal fans behind the goal – the French midfielder having labelled supporters of his old club “stupid” for their continued jibes since his big-money move three seasons ago.
Arsenal maintained pressure down the right, from where Debuchy, signed from Newcastle to replace Sagna, delivered a couple of decent crosses which were just too high for Yaya Sanogo who was deployed as a central striker.
City felt they had a penalty claim on 14 minutes when Nasri crashed a shot at Debuchy, which the defender blocked with his chest at point-blank range rather than his arm, according to referee Michael Oliver.
The FA Cup winners were soon on the offensive again, this time left-back Kieran Gibbs marauding into the penalty area before his shot was blocked by Gael Clichy, another former Gunner now in sky blue.
Arsenal were ahead after 21 minutes.
Sanogo and Wilshere worked some space at the edge of the City penalty area, before the England man was upended by Dedryck Boyata.
The ball broke left to Santi Cazorla, who sidestepped Clichy before sliding a low shot back across Caballero and into the far corner.
Sanogo then dragged a shot wide from the edge of the City penalty area as the Premier League champions were opened up again.
City showed a bit more invention as the first half drew towards a close, but lacked any real penetration in the final third.
Edin Dzeko powered his way into the left side of the Arsenal penalty area, but his cutback towards Stevan Jovetic was blocked.
Arsenal doubled their lead after 42 minutes with a simple goal, yet one of the highest quality.
Sanchez’s ball from the right was held up at the edge of the City box by Sanogo. The France forward showed great strength to lay a pass back to Ramsey, who stepped past his marker before clipping the ball into the net and wheeling away in celebration – just as he had done at the other end in the FA Cup final here some 12 weeks ago.
The second half featured the expected substitutions by both teams.
Arsenal replaced Sanchez with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanogo with Giroud and Laurent Koscielny with Nacho Monreal. For City, David Silva replaced Nasri.
The Premier League champions looked more lively following Silva’s introduction and Jovetic saw his header strike the post following a deep right-wing cross by Jesus Navas.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny then produced a good save as he stopped a low effort by the Montenegro forward.
On the hour, Giroud cracked in a sublime third. There seemed little on for the France forward when he picked the ball up some 25 yards from goal, surrounded by three defenders. But that did not matter as Giroud promptly fired in a rising effort which nicked off Matija Nastasic and into the roof of the net.
The closing stages were low-key, but the end result will nevertheless give Arsenal fans hopes they may just be able to last the distance with City when the action gets under way for real next weekend.
Arsenal: Szczesny,Debuchy,Chambers,Koscielny (Monreal 46),Gibbs, Arteta,Sanchez (Oxlade-Chamberlain 46),Ramsey (Campbell 86), Wilshere (Flamini 68),Cazorla (Rosicky 70),Sanogo (Giroud 46). Subs not Used: Martinez.
Manchester City: Caballero,Clichy,Boyata,Nastasic, Kolarov (Richards 76),Jesus Navas (Sinclair 85), Toure (Zuculini 60),Fernando,Nasri (Silva 46),Jovetic, Dzeko (Milner 60). Subs not used: Hart,Rekik.
Made two straightforward saves from Stevan Jovetic in the second half. Otherwise untested. 6/10
An attacking outlet on the right and made important block from Nasri early on. 7
Positive and direct in his running. Marshalled Jesus Navas well. 7
Solid but had very little to do before being replaced at half-time. 6
Composed in possession and positionally sound at centre half. 7
Anchored Arsenal’s midfield alongside Jack Wilshere and kept possession diligently. 6
Influential throughout. Arsenal’s best player before going off. 8
Brilliant touch to make space before scoring second goal. Provided a constant threat. 8
Deployed off the right and showed glimpses of potential, particularly on the counter-attack. Underwhelming display, however. 6
Superb opening goal. Drifted in from the left to good effect. 8
Worked hard and was a handful for Cityin the first half. 7
Slightly hesitant to close down Ramsey’s goal but did well moments later to foil Sanchez. 5/10
Looked uncomfortable at right back in first half. Was happier when moved to left. 5
Turned too easily in build-up to the second goal. Struggled to keep pace with Arsenal’s fluid movement. 5
Slow to react for the second goal. Missed the direction of Vincent Kompany. 5
Less of an attacking threat than usual but occasionally caused Debuchy problems. 6
Hung up a good cross for Jovetic but largely ineffective. 5
Baptism of fire. Regularly outnumbered in midfield. 5
Distinctly lethargic. Failed to track Arsenal’s attacking players and rarely supported City going forward. 5
Made little impact. Subbed at half-time. 5
Hit post and forced good save from Szczesny. One of City’s livelier players. 6
Occasionally troubled Arsenal’s defence but no end product. 5