Arsenal vs Manchester City Community Shield 2014 match report: Stroll for Arsenal leaves Joe Hart and Roy Hodgson worried

Arsenal 3 Manchester City 0

Wembley

It was an afternoon for Arsenal as they exist in Arsène Wenger’s ideal world. A world in which rich oligarchs cannot buy success, one in which his club are at Wembley every season and where every pass from a red-shirt is tantalisingly out of the reach of their opposition.

The Community Shield is not the most reliable indicator of a manager’s likely fortunes for the season ahead – David Moyes won it with Manchester United last season – but there is nothing like a comfortable victory in the August sunshine to fire the optimism. And that was what Arsenal left Wembley with, along with the Football Association’s silver salad platter, having made short work of the champions Manchester City.

So many pre-seasons under Wenger in the recent past have been a story of demoralising departures and worryingly late arrivals in the August transfer window. This time, he was able to field three of his four new signings in the starting XI and there was a notable freshness about his players almost three months on from their FA Cup triumph.

Arsenal 3 Manchester City 0 - as it happened
Video: Pellegrini on Arsenal defeat

From the moment that Santi Cazorla turned inside the former Arsenal full-back Gaël Clichy, played out of position at right-back, and scored the first goal on 21 minutes, there was precious little doubt that this was going to be Arsenal’s day. They did it without their three-man German World Cup-winning contingent, and they did it in style.

As for City, the best that could be said was that, at two goals down, they improved in the second half. Many of the big-hitters who they hope will sustain them through the season – Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Frank Lampard – were watching from the Club Wembley seats. Yet even so the one-paced efforts of the league champions in the first half in particular were quite something.

Manuel Pellegrini also selected his new Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero ahead of Joe Hart. On reflection it will have been one that the Englishman might have been glad to have missed out on. Pellegrini’s refusal, post-match, to make any assurances about the England goalkeeper’s place in the team come the first Premier League game of the season away at Newcastle on Sunday will have been more of a worry.

Santi Cazorla puts the Gunners ahead Santi Cazorla puts the Gunners ahead

It was not a certain demotion for Hart but the feeling lingers that despite his reinstatement last season, after a brief, deserved spell on the sidelines, he does not enjoy the full confidence of his manager. The questions about Hart irritated Pellegrini, who sees this as a sensitive subject. He was also not much pleased to be reminded there was not a single Englishman in his starting XI.

 

In the first half in particular, City allowed themselves to be passed around by Arsenal who enjoyed some sequences of possession that saw them work the ball all the way from the back to the front and, sometimes back again. And when City did manage to get forward they were hit hard on the counter-attack with Alexis Sanchez leading the way, as he did in creating the second goal for Aaron Ramsey shortly before half-time.

Arsenal did all this without a centre-forward who was anything like as ruthless as he might have been. Yaya Sanogo played a key part in both first half goals but failed to hit the target when played in by Cazorla on 25 minutes. It was a brief reminder that there is still a fundamental question over whether Arsenal can score the goals that will lift them out of their third-place, fourth-place cycle, but it did not spoil the rest of the performance.

Olivier Giroud celebrates his strike Olivier Giroud celebrates his strike Last season, Arsenal struggled badly against the three other teams that made up the top four. This time around there are no guarantees but they have begun by winning against the league champions and doing so with the zest that typified their best years under Wenger. It is not a bad start by any measure.

Playing on the right-side Sanchez was an excellent outlet. Jack Wilshere, eventually replaced by Mathieu Flamini with 20 minutes left, had a fine game in midfield. Ramsey was superb, his delightful first touch taking the ball away from Matija Nastasic to clear the space for a shot for his goal three minutes before the break.

Wenger picked his young Southampton signing Calum Chambers in the centre of defence and the 19-year-old did not disappoint. The only note of caution was in the first half when he was beaten for pace down the goalline by Edin Dzeko, not a striker noted as especially quick. Afterwards, Wenger said he felt that the teenager had been “outstanding”.

Samir Nasri was loudly disapproved of by the Arsenal support every time he had the ball, which was not that often before he was replaced at half-time by David Silva. There were 11 substitutions between the two sides with even City’s lost soul Scott Sinclair given a late run-out as a replacement for Jesus Navas.

The pick of Arsenal’s goals was Olivier Giroud’s just after the hour. On as a half-time substitute for Sanogo, he whipped a left foot shot over Caballero from the right channel that left the Argentine flat on his back. It may have taken a touch off Nastasic’s leg on its way. It was such a good goal that it prompted the dozy sponsor’s guests to vote Giroud man of the match, a daft decision when there were as many as half a dozen in Arsenal shirts who deserved it more.

As for City, Stefan Jovetic was denied brilliantly by Wojciech Szczesny just minutes after the Montenegrin had hit the post with a header. Jovetic was one of the few who showed the kind of bite that City will require if they are to retain their title. This was a not a game that Yaya Touré, who came off on the hour, looked particularly interested in. Bruno Zuculini, the 21-year-old Argentine signed from Racing, was given a late run-out.

For the watching Roy Hodgson there were only worries when he looked at the City team, not least what the future might hold for Hart. A non-playing first choice England goalkeeper is the last thing the national team needs, especially given that Caballero was by no means impressive. Nevertheless, these are early days, but for Arsenal this is much more preferable to previous summers.

Arsenal (4-1-3-2) Szczesny; Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny (Monreal, ht), Gibbs; Arteta; Sanchez (Oxlade-Chamberlain, ht), Ramsey (Campbell, 86), Wilshere (Flamini, 68), Cazorla (Rosicky, 70); Sanogo (Giroud, ht)

Substitutes not used: Martinez (gk).

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Caballero; Clichy, Boyata, Nastasic, Kolarov (Richards, 76); Toure (Zuculini, 60), Fernando; Navas (Sinclair, 85), Dzeko (Milner, 60), Nasri (Silva, ht); Jovetic.

Substitutes not used: Hart (gk), Rekik.

Man of the match: Ramsey

Attendance: 71,523

Rating: 6

Referee: M Oliver (Northumberland)

Suggested Topics
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003