We begin the season on the 10th of August with Arsenal preparing for their first major test against the 2013/14 champions, Manchester City in the Community Shield. Newly signed stars Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers were given the nod against a strong Manchester City side, with fans eagerly awaiting to see the new singings in action. It did not take long for Arsenal to demonstrate what they were capable of with Cazorla (22) and Ramsey (43) continuing their goal scoring exploits at Wembley from the season before and putting Arsenal 2-0 up at half time. The second-half saw Arsenal continue their dominant display, which was epitomized by a spectacular 30-yard effort from Giroud beating Caballero in the 62nd minute. Arsenal comfortably held on to the win and the game finished 3-0 to the Gunners and set the benchmark for the season as Arsenal picked up their 13th Community Shield.
Arsenal’s next encounter was on the 16th in a London derby against Crystal Palace, the opening game for Arsenal in the Premier League. A sturdy Palace defense and a slick haired Chamakh proved hard for Arsenal to break down with Sanogo leading the attack instead of Giroud. A misfiring Arsenal were punished in the 35th minute as Brede Hangeland guided a headed effort passed Szczesny. However Arsenals resolve was not broken and the team managed to equalize just before half time with Koscielny latching onto an Alexis free kick to put the gunners level at the break. The second half was much the same, with Arsenal’s attacking efforts being rebuffed by a rigid palace back line. Despite the introductions of Giroud, Chamberlain and Monreal it was looking like it wasn’t going to be Arsenals day. But with puncheon dismissed in the 89th minute for second bookable offence Arsenal smelled blood. With the ball ricocheting around the box it fell to the feet Ramsey were he could not miss, slotting home in the 91st minute and ensuring all 3 points for Arsenal in a tight fought 2-1 victory on the opening day.
Next on Arsenal’s agenda was an unenviable journey to Turkey to face Besiktas in the first leg of a Champions League Qualifier. The match played on the 19th ended in a stalemate as Besiktas and Arsenal played out a 0-0 draw. Most notably Aaron Ramsey was sent off for a second booking and was set to miss the return home leg to be played at the Emirates the following week.
In-between the two Champions League Qualifiers Arsenal had a tricky away game to an Everton side that had gained many plaudits the season prior for their exciting, attacking football. The first half started as expected with a nervy opening 15 minutes, arguably Arsenal had the better of the chances, with Chamberlain narrowly putting a first time shot just past the post. But as can be the frustrating way with Arsenal we let Everton score a simple goal, with Coleman slipping free at the back post to score a relatively easy header in the 19th minute. For all Arsenals good play the first half was set to end with more misery with a 45th minute Everton counter-attack led by the Man-Beast Lukaku who teed up Naismith who took his chance well slotting through the legs of Szczesny, putting the hosts 2-0 up at half time. The second half saw Giroud replace Sanchez, with Arsenal missing a few decent chances it was again looking like it was not going to be our day. However the warning signs were there that Arsenal weren’t going to go down without a fight. With seven minutes remaining Arsenal were still piling on the pressure hoping that the Everton defense would crack, and in the 83rd minute Ramsey converted a delightful ball from Cazorla to give Arsenal some hope of getting something from the game. With the clock ticking into the 90th minute, our gorgeous French savior arrived, as he directed a header past Tim Howard’s near post gunners fans erupted with joy as we were now on equal terms. The game would go onto to finish 2-2 with arsenal unable to fully capitalize on their excellent second half display. The aftermath of the game provided an unnerving for Arsenal as it was revealed that Arsenal’s leading striker Olivier Giroud had broken his tibia and was set to miss 4 months of action. There was no time to mourn the loss of our beautiful French marksman as Arsenal had to prepare for the second leg of our Champions league Qualifier with Besiktas.
The second leg against Besiktas was going to be a tricky encounter, with Giroud and Ramsey both out of contention, newcomer Alexis Sanchez was set to lead the line of Arsenal’s attack. The first half was tense with neither side wanting to concede first and each team imposing their desire to win the game. But the breakthrough came for the home side as Arsenal’s Alexis coolly slotted home after some good build up play just before the half time. Having taken the lead into the break Arsenal came back out looking to put the game to bed, but Besiktas were proving tenacious and were not going to be knocked out with such ease. Arsenal continued to pile on the pressure with shots being fired at the opposition goal to no avail. There was one final twist in the tale as Debuchy saw red for a second bookable offence and Arsenal fans watched the final fifteen minutes with tightened bowels and with a few minutes to go ex-Chelsea striker Demba Ba missed a golden opportunity to put the visitors level. Thankfully Arsenal managed to see out the rest of the game and Qualify for the Champions League for the 17th season in a row.
Arsenals final game in August saw the gunners travel to the King Power Stadium to face a newly promoted Leicester City. The game was 5th in 15 days since the start of the premier league and would prove to be a disappointing encounter for the gunners. The game saw Arsenal’s Debuchy and Koscielny get knocked around early on with the latter returning to the field adorning a stylish swimming cap. The game was played at a high tempo with both sides going for goals and the breakthrough occurred with Sanchez in some provocatively short shorts pouncing on a lose ball and firing into the Leicester goal in the 20th minute. Sanchez’s opener, his first premier league goal was almost instantly cancelled out when Leicester City’s Ulloa found himself free to head the foxes level on 23 minutes. The remainder of the game was played out with a good intensity but neither team was able to find the winning goal and the match ended 1-1 with neither team taking the victory.
The month of August was very hit and miss for Arsenal FC, they had beaten Manchester City to win the community shield convincingly and had qualified for the Champions league for the 17th time in a row. However the failure to push on from the opening day victory over Crystal Palace and the subsequent draws to Everton and Leicester left Arsenal sitting 7th with 5 points, 4 points behind the leaders Chelsea. For some Arsenal’s start was not great but we have to remember we had got out of a run of 5 games in a very short period of time and remained unbeaten, and with the new signing Alexis Sanchez firing us to the champions league and demonstrating some of his outstanding football ability I would consider August at least moderately successful.