Arsenal beat City 3-0 to win Community Shield
Arsenal prepared for the English Premier League season by collecting the Community Shield with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Manchester City yesterday, picking up where the team left off at the FA Cup final by adding another piece of silverware at Wembley.
Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, who both scored in the FA Cup triumph that ended Arsenal's nine-year trophy drought in May, also netted against City with well-taken first-half strikes.
A makeshift City were a shadow of the team that won the Premier League for the second time in three years in May. And Olivier Giroud added to City's discomfort by scoring with a dipping strike on the hour mark in the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season between the Premier League and FA Cup champions.
"This gives us a positive platform to prepare," Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger said. "Last year, we were very consistent against the teams outside the top six, and not consistent against the top-six teams."
Arsenal, which finished fourth after leading for much of last season, open against Crystal Palace on Saturday as they look to win the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
Joe Hart benched
Given how City's makeshift team performed in the first half, with just four of the players who started the title-clinching Premier League finale in May, it might be an uncomfortable start to the title defence at Newcastle on Sunday.
Perhaps most surprisingly, England goalkeeper Joe Hart was on the bench as new signing Willy Caballero was preferred in goal.
At the first match at Wembley since England's pre-World Cup friendly against Peru in May, the shortage of Englishmen at top clubs was exposed again. With Hart dropped, City's starting line-up lacked a single Englishman.
"I don't see what nationalities the players are," Pellegrini said. "I use the players who I think are the best players to win that game. It doesn't matter if they are England players."
Arsenal had a core of three, including new signing Calum Chambers, who was assured in central defence.
Arsenal's trio of German World Cup winners - Mesut Özil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski - are still on their post-Brazil break. But the cup winners, with $60 million-forward Alexis Sanchez making a lively full debut, were in control throughout against a City side that provided little threat.
"We passed the ball around very quickly and looked a threat every time," said Mikel Arteta, who has assumed the captaincy from Thomas Vermaelen after the defender joined Barcelona. "We've got pace up front now, and it makes a big difference."