The Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, would give no assurances that Joe Hart will be his No 1 goalkeeper this season, having selected new Argentinian signing Willy Caballero for the club’s 3-0 Community Shield defeat by Arsenal at Wembley.
The Premier League champions were below par, especially in the first half, and Caballero’s performance was by no means outstanding.
Afterwards, however, Pellegrini said that he did not have a first-choice goalkeeper as such and no positions were assured ahead of their opening Premier League game of the new season, away to Newcastle United on Sunday.
At first Pellegrini said that Caballero had figured in today's match because he had played more pre-season games. “Joe Hart, James Milner, Silva, Yaya Touré and Edin Dzeko just arrived 10 days ago,” he said. “The other players made the whole pre-season, doing 30 days’ work, so most players that played today were players who made the whole pre-season.”
When he was pushed on who his first-choice goalkeeper was to be, Pellegrini said that he had not yet decided.
“All the 22 players we have in our squad must demonstrate who is No 1 in all positions. Joe finished last season playing very well,” he said. “We will see next Sunday which players start for Newcastle.”
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
Pellegrini was dismissive of the significance of the defeat, with so many players missing including Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and the new loan signing Frank Lampard.
“That was one game more for the pre-season,” he said. “We have seven players who have just worked five days who were not considered for this game. We have another five players who just worked eight or nine days. I put the players who worked more in pre-season [into the team] and nothing more than that.”
By contrast, Arsène Wenger said this was a game Arsenal could not afford to lose, given their poor record against title contenders last season. “That’s why it was important for us today, not to lose the game,” he said. “Last year we were very consistent against [teams outside the] top six and not consistent against top-six teams. The year before it was the reverse. It’s hoped this year it will be right on both sides.”
Following the £15m departure of defender Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona, Wenger said that Mikel Arteta would be his new captain and Per Mertesacker the vice-captain.
The Arsenal manager also praised the performance of Calum Chambers, signed from Southampton last month.
“I would’ve bought him anyway [even if Vermaelen had stayed], because he can play right-back, he can play centre-back and he can play central midfield,” he said.
“In my head he’s among the best three centre-backs I have. If I can find another one I will do it, but to find another one of that quality will not be easy.”
Wenger added: “I felt we had the complete performance in the first half, as long as we had the legs to sustain what we wanted to do.
“In the second half our togetherness and the third goal got us through. We defended well. We lost the ball a bit more than in the first half, our movements were less fluent, but we kept the spirit and the organisation.”