Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels his side can head into the new Barclays Premier League season with cautious optimism after dismantling defending champions Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield at Wembley.
Back at the scene of their FA Cup triumph, the Gunners tore into a lacklustre City side - which saw Willy Caballero start in goal ahead of England's Joe Hart, and with several other first-choice players missing.
Arsenal were in control by half-time through well-worked goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, whose extra-time winner had beaten Hull on May 17 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, with the goal earning the France forward the Man of the Match award.
While Wenger of course accepts much sterner tests lie ahead, he believes Arsenal - with £30million Chile forward Alexis Sanchez one of three new summer signings on display at Wembley - are in good shape ahead of next weekend's league opener against Crystal Palace.
Arsenal 3 Manchester City 0 player ratings
Arsenal 3 Manchester City 0 player ratings
1/24 Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny
Fans’ favourite had surprisingly little to do. Dealt well with two efforts from Jovetic but was otherwise untested as Arsenal coasted to victory.6/10
2/24 Mathieu Debuchy
Could not have wished for easier “competitive” debut. Strong in the tackle – one important block on Nasri – and got forward at every opportunity.6
3/24 Calum Chambers
Another encouraging debut for the Gunners. Quiet but effective, he showed why Wenger was willing to allow Vermaelen to depart.6
4/24 Laurent Koscielny
Cool and calm but did not have much to worry about. Helped out Chambers in defence before being replaced by Monreal at the interval due to injury.6
5/24 Kieran Gibbs
Enjoyed numerous chances to get forward as Arsenal began with confidence and also dealt well with sporadic threats posed by Navas after the break.7
6/24 Aaron Ramsey
Fulcrum of Arsenal’s good work picked up where he left off last season with a goal at Wembley. A constant threat whenever he came forward.8
7/24 Mikel Arteta
Often divides opinion among fans but helped control game from middle of the park. Rarely lost possession and patrolled the area in front of defence.6
8/24 Alexis Sanchez
Multimillion-pound arrival showed pace and potential on right wing. Fine ball through to Sanogo led to second goal before he went off at interval. 7
9/24 Jack Wilshere
Seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time on the ground – one such incident leading to Cazorla’s opener. Good with the ball but could do so much more.7
10/24 Santi Cazorla
Afforded time and space to come inside and test City and he showed fine composure and footwork to make space to score the opening goal.7
11/24 Yaya Sanogo
Has won plaudits for pre-season form but still yet to convince on main stage. Dragged wide but held ball up well for Ramsey to steer in Arsenal’s second.6
12/24 Olivier Giroud
Much-maligned forward replaced Sanogo and made an instant impact with a fantastic finish from distance to remind people of his qualities.7
13/24 Manchester City: Willy Caballero
Argentinian debutant was given a chance to impress in place of Joe Hart but struggled to convince. Quick off his line to block an effort from Sanchez.5
14/24 Gaël Clichy
Looked uncomfortable in an unfamiliar right-back berth before a belated return to more familiar surroundings following the introduction of Richards.5
15/24 Dedryck Boyata
Sent off against the Gunners in 2010 and again struggled against the Londoners. Cumbersome, positionally poor and to blame for Arsenal’s second goal.5
16/24 Matija Nastasic
Has struggled to convince fully in sporadic appearances. Slight deflection for Giroud’s goal. His display will not have threatened Vincent Kompany’s place.5
17/24 Aleksandar Kolarov
Unable to get forward to any great effect as City were pinned back by Arsenal. Troubled Debuchy at times before being replaced by Richards.6
18/24 Jesus Navas
Spaniard displayed tricky feet and looked for openings but was largely ineffective. Provided a cross for Jovetic to hit the post but substituted late on.6
19/24 Yaya Touré
Ivorian powerhouse traditionally enjoys his Wembley outings but was lethargic and uninterested here. A disappointing display from such a sublime talent.5
Has not threatened the place of his near-namesake Fernandinho. Had too much to do alongside a languid Touré. Dragged wide and brought down Ramsey.6
21/24 Samir Nasri
Delighted in belittling Arsenal fans pre-match but it was his former adorers who had the last laugh. The Frenchman made no impact and lasted just a half.5
22/24 Stevan Jovetic
Has sparkled in pre-season but was given little to work with here. Hit the post before blazing over and forced Szczesny into a fine save. City’s best, though.7
23/24 Edin Dzeko
Gave Arsenal food for thought with his physicality and direct running, but only on occasion. Taken off for James Milner early in the second period.6
24/24 David Silva
Replaced boo-boy Nasri at half-time and fizzed around with imagination. Was unable to engineer the great comeback City required, though.6
"I have more attacking options than I had for a long time - that's for sure. Three, four, five years ago, every year we lost a big player. In the last two years, we added players like (Mesut) Ozil and this season Alexis, so of course that strengthens the squad," the Gunners boss said.
"I am of course very ambitious, but I am a bit cautious because I have quite a good experience.
"I look around and see the other teams have strengthened as well so it will be interesting to watch the Premier League because it looks like all the big teams will be very strong."
City certainly did not look like contenders on Sunday, as manager Manuel Pellegrini put out a shadow side, which did not include any Englishman, although £12million Brazilian midfielder Fernando started.
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, while the other players involved in the knockout stages of the World Cup are set to come into contention ahead of their Premier League opener at Newcastle next weekend.
Despite all of those factors, Wenger feels his team, which will be further boosted by the return of their triumphant German trio, are moving in the right direction following a second trophy in the space of 85 days.
"To win the Community Shield gives us a positive platform to prepare, but now the Premier League starts and we have to start well," he said.
"We know that last season we were very consistent against the teams outside the top six and not consistent against the top six teams. The year before it was reversed, so let's hope that this year it will be right on both sides."
Wenger will try to bring in another defender after allowing former captain Thomas Vermaelen to leave for the chance of regular football at Barcelona.
Veteran Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta has been appointed the new club skipper.
The 32-year-old is confident for the challenges ahead.
He said: "This year, we can do something different. The players in the squad are top, top players and we are ready for a fight."