FIVE things we learnt from Arsenal’s performance v Man City

Five things I learned from Arsenal’s performance in the FA Community Shield by SE

Manchester City and Arsenal contested this year’s FA Community Shield, and it was the North Londoners who annihilated the champions of England to win 3-0 and kick start their 2014/15 campaign on a resounding note.

Arsenal were good value for the margin of win over Man City, as they played with a lot more verve and purpose than the Premier League champions. Albeit the new recruits might not have exhibited their best, yesterday, the seasoned pros in Ramsey, Szczesny and Cazorla put out a top-drawer performance to ensure Arsenal clinched the first available silverware of the season.

And, here are the five things I learned from a solid Arsenal Performance:

Arsenal’s squad looks well drilled and hungry to continue collecting silverware

Albeit Arsenal, too, started off slowly, they shifted gears quickly to catch Man City napping on many an occasion prior to that first Cazorla goal in the 21st minute of the match. The goal scorer himself, playing on the Left-Wing, was the chief architect in Arsenal finding that cutting edge, which their opposition, on the day, couldn’t come to terms with.

In addition to Cazorla, Ramsey, Gibbs at Left-Back, the new boy Chambers and Sanogo, just had that aura about themselves to get out there and mean business.

And, it’s this hunger and motivation that, in my opinion, will prove indispensable to Arsenal’s campaign, if it proves to be a silver lining one come the end of the season. It’s now two trophies in just over two months for Arsenal and Wenger, and going by that performance last night, there may be more silverware to come.

4-2-3-1 goes into the trashcan, out comes the dynamic 4-3-3

Once Sanchez came into the equation, there was always this conundrum whether Wenger would dump 4-2-3-1 and adopt 4-3-3, which is very much possible, with the squad he has at his disposal.

Arsenal’s 4-3-3 had a single Midfield pivot in Arteta, with Wilshere and Ramsey playing in an advanced role in the middle of the park. It was a carbon copy of Barcelona’s system, which sees Busquets playing in the deeper midfield role, and Xavi and Iniesta playing in an advanced position.

Sanchez played at Right-Wing, with Cazorla on the left and Sanogo playing as the Center-Forward. And, with Manchester City playing two strikers up top, Arsenal having that extra body in the midfield had a telling impact on the game from the word go.

Ramsey, at times, dropped deep to link up the play, which meant that Arteta didn’t have the burden of having to sit in front of the back four, and still render that extra bit, going forward. Wilshere was given the free role, but he went missing for large periods, and it was Cazorla, Ramsey and the two Arsenal full backs, who were pulling the strings for the Gunners.

But mind you, once Ozil comes into the equation, he won’t get to play that No.10 role, and would have to play wide, as he did for Germany at the World Cup.

Cazorla’s performance will give Wenger Team selection headaches

The Spaniard minces nothing, in terms of effort, once he steps on to the pitch, and it was no different yesterday. Playing on the Left-wing, Cazorla dictated Arsenal’s tempo like an orchestrator, constantly drifting inward of Clichy, playing at Right-Back, and making a nuisance of himself to that Man City’s back four. He was, by far, the best Arsenal player of the evening.

And, just on yesterday’s performance alone, Cazorla is piling the pressure on Wenger to render him more starting berths in the coming season. Now, where are those wagging mouths that fuelled rumors of Cazorla leaving Arsenal in search of more first team Football? If he keeps performing like he did last evening, Wilshere could be the one making way for the Spaniard, with Ozil playing on the Left-Wing.

Despite keeping a clean sheet, Arsenal’s defence looked wobbly at times

Yesterday’s game was always going to be a tussle between two defences, which had question marks over their ability to keep the opposing strikers from getting past them. And, pertinently, Man City’s defence was shambolic; Arsenal’s was par for the course.

Chambers didn’t do too badly, but there were a couple of moments in the first half when he looked nervy on the ball, and had Szczesny’s heart pumping abnormally, with his back passes.

Gibbs was done for pace by Navas time and again, and the Englishman’s sluggishness didn’t cost Arsenal, thankfully.

Koscielny didn’t have much to do, as Man City attacked Arsenal’s right-hand-side for much of the first half, and it was always Debuchy and Chambers in question. Koscielny played just 45 minutes of the match, before he was replaced by Monreal.

Mathieu Debuchy, too, is another full back who gives so much offensively, but defensively he can be a liability, going by yesterday’s performance. Kolarov turned him inside out repeatedly, and Arsenal’s defence was given many a reprieve by a Man City side that wasn’t overly intent on winning the game.

Arsenal can build on this solid performance

As I said at the very beginning: Arsenal, through their performance yesterday, have sent out a raucous warning to their Premier League rivals. You can call it the curtain-raiser, or another pre-season game, which has very little riding on it, but when you count the attitude of both teams, Arsenal were miles ahead of Man City.

It’s that intent and attitude that will make Arsenal a much bigger threat to their Premier League rivals than last season. New signings could make a difference, but the aura Arsenal exuded was simply reassuring.

Wenger’s men will have much tougher challenges to overcome this season, but if they can play with the same hunger, verve and panache, Arsenal can prove to be World beaters.

Tags Man City


  1. 11Guns says:

    And just to think that we have three starters not even playing this game, this season will be one of the most amazing we have seen for years I reckon. A DM and CB and we are golden, COYG! 😀

    1. SackWenger says:

      Nothing defines banter better than fielding Monreal as a Cenre-back and getting a clean sheet agains Man City let alone beating them 3-0 Comprehensively.

      1. 007 says:

        The Germans are back. Yeeeeeeeeepie, now start training lads, we need you match fit asap.

  2. No10 says:

    We also learnt Wilshere is immensely better when he passes the ball instead of colliding with defenders, I seriously hope his performance is a sign of etter things to come from him.

    The Jack we had 3 years ago, a fit Ramsey, an improving Ozil and a top DM would boss any midfield in Europe. Add an in form Cazorla, Walcott, a fit Ox and Campbell/Sanchez slowly building up and the prospect of facing our midfield will be daunting for all teams in the EPL.

    1. Ljungberg's Cool Red Hair says:

      I like the 4-3-3 formation (a bit excited about wilshere and ramsey together ). Now the problem is Ozil. I dont think we get the best from ozil with that formation. He alway’s play better when he is behind the striker.

  3. JDodge says:

    We still have our German trio to come back and this squad is looking good anyway. Just a DM and CB needed and we got a world class squad which is capable of winning everything.

  4. AYZAY says:

    Very looooooonnnnnnggggg article and it seems to be taking longer for the season to start #can’twaitfortheseasontostart

  5. Patrick Shiiiza says:

    Chambers looked solid. Yes there were few moments (the Benfica match) where you noticed some communication problems, but that should be ironed out. I thought his back passes were cool, kept szczesny on his toes 😛

    Was great seeing us overload the midfield and also performing some good overlapping play with Gibbs and Debuchy. But one of the best parts of the match was noticing how much potential we had on the break. City were playing a high line for sure, but we managed to capitalize on it and score. Alexis was always ready to receive the ball in our half and start the counter.

    It’s looking good. Like he said above. Add a bad ass CDM and CB and we’re good to go.

    1. No10 says:

      Had this Sanogo through ball been half a meter shorter Alexis would have deservedly been on the score sheer. I found we had such great movement in the first half it caused all sorts of problems to city on the left, right and centre. Once Giroud was on and Sanchez off we lost the edge.

      1. GunnerJack says:

        I was just wondering how long it would be before a Giroud hater crawled out of the woodwork.

  6. Arsenal Fan says:

    What I learnt;
    1. Chamber has slotted in well and still looks like he can improve. Possibly be at the end of the season one of the buys of the year.
    2. Sanchez gives us such a different dynamic, opponents have another issue to consider now when they face arsenal
    3. We have a squad, one with many many options. To think, no Diaby, Özil, Walcott, Mert, Poldoski, ospin and to think Giroud, Campbell and Ox only made it to the bench
    4. Our system of play is more clinical through the developed ability of individuals; Ramsay, Wilshire, Gibbs in particular looked to have kicked on from last year.
    5. The hunger is there to do more, a real belief of wanting to achieve more than a cup win and a belief they actually can.

    Most importantly I have learnt Arsenal are ready for the season ahead.

    1. MikeD says:

      And we have Shad Forsythe, which hopefully should result in a lot less off the field or training injuries

  7. BigWilli says:

    can someone explain why arteta is our captain?
    does that mean we wont sign a dm who will bench arteta?
    or does wenger like captains who sit on the bench for 70% of the season?

    i like arteta but i dont think he should be captain coz he isnt good enough (anymore) to be in the starting 11.

    since gilberto left we didnt fill the gap.
    denilson was rubbish.
    song was too offensive.
    arteta did great in his first season but now he seems too slow.

  8. 007 says:

    Vintage Wenger responses –
    on the last time he had this competition for places…

    “I don’t know. I don’t look to much behind me, I always look forward.”

    on winning two trophies in 85 days…

    “I would love to win one every week, unfortunately it’s not possible. Let’s just win the next game.”

    You’ve got to love him when he is in his groove. His now got his swagger back, Mou and rest of the stupid pundits watch out!

  9. Toni balle says:

    The biggest feature from this preseason for me has been playing three 4-3-3 formation. It gives all three midfield players greater defensive responsibility, as opposed to the AMC behind the striker, whose defensive responsibility really ends after the halfway line. It also makes up for the lack of pace in the defensive midfield. I feel if we play 4-2-3-1, then having that physically dynamic and robust player is a necessity as he will need to dominate a larger amount of space. However in the 4-3-3, it ensures there is always significant cover on both sides of the deepest midfield and allows us to dictate from deep. The biggest plus for me however is that it allows wilshere and Ramsey to play together, and it’s a formation that brings the best out of jack. It’s the formation we used when he first burst onto the scene, with Fabregas playing in that Ramsey role back then. This allowed us to take advantage of the pace we had on the counter from the flanks With Walcott and the Algerian C#nt Nasri. The only negative is that it would mean one of Ozil and Cazorla would have to sit on the bench as the only open spot would be the left wing Santi played in yesterday, but that only increases the number of options we could bring on. In all, I would imagine we would still play 4-2-3-1 against some of the weaker teams when Ozil returns, but I really do hope against the top teams we use this 4-3-3, as it keeps the balance in check and allows us to fully utilize our counter attacking pace as we did yesterday.

  10. alexhare says:

    We learnt that we have a chance to do something this season. If we can perform like we did for large periods of last season and keep everyone fit, we have as good a chance as any to win it this season. I said weeks ago that City don’t impress me like they did a couple of years ago. Liverpool are nothing more than a mid level team without Suarez. Everton are dark horses for top 4. Chelsea are the only squad that I think could win it convincingly besides us. However, while Chelsea have a good squad, Mourinho’s tactics could quite easily kill their chances. If we stick to our game, maintain fitness and stay hungry, we could do it.

  11. davidnz says:

    From game to game we have no idea
    which Arsenal side will turn up.
    A poor loss to NYB, a fine win over Benfica
    a loss to Monaco a good win over City.
    Many of the Arsenal players seem
    to have a form line of
    1 good game
    1 average game
    2 weeks injured.
    No wonder Wenger likes 20 midfielders.
    I guess he figures for each game
    hopefully only 10 players will be injured
    and hopefully half of the ten who are fit
    will be in form 🙂

    1. Mesut O-thrilled says:

      i think we played our best against man city during this preseason because of how they embarrassed us last season and the trophy we received as a result. We showed real hunger to win and we did. That’s the same kind of mentality we need to show every week.

  12. 007 says:

    I love Alexis attitude already, he celebrated with the team asthough his been playing for us all his life. He smiles brightly and screams loudly for us (Ozil, take note men). Talk about passion, respect Alexis Sanchez

    1. Skandalouz says:

      Don’t agree with your jab towards Ozil there. Sanchez is a bright South-American lad who are generally way more emotional than Europeans. I’m surprised some people still just can’t accept Ozil has an unorthodox character for a footballer rather than just accept he’s different than the others. The guy is incredibly calm and rational, let him be happy in his own ways.

      1. 007 says:

        With due respect to your comment my brother, as much as I am trying to accept Ozil for who he is, it wouldn’t be so bad to show love and emotion to your current employer especially with all the camera’s on you and the media tipping your toes. Even in any other profession if you show more affection or passion at work, everyone will recognize that and appreciate.

        I am not doubting his love for the team, he has demonstrated that a lot but all am saying is it also plays a huge physiological role when you are facing an opponent who is so passionate and looks like his loving what his doing and the colors his wearing to the max.

        This goes to all our players and funs not just supper Ozil. PS: glade the Germans are back.

        1. Skandalouz says:

          Fair enough mate, I can see your point. Doubt it will ever change besides the important games and vs big opponents though.

  13. Ozil_Sanchez says:

    We beat Citeh by 3 goals and a clean sheet without Walcott, Ozil, Mertsacker, Podolski.

    Everybody played well.

    We played as a team united.

    It as beautiful to watch

  14. Ozil_Sanchez says:

    Also Giroud scored against a big team

    Last season he didn’t score against top teams only smaller ones.

    For him to score against Citeh in a cup final is a breakthrough for him

  15. Tyno says:

    What’s this rumour with Nani, plz @Leo?

  16. Fab says:

    I can only hope that wenger continues this 4-3-3 formation, the reason it isnt a definite yes is OZil. We’ll have to wait and see if he blends well into it (Note: Arsenal and Germany are not exactly the same). Wilshere and Ramsey thrived under the freedom they had yesterday, a world class DM sitting behind them would make us serious contenders in Europe. Wenger doesnt see to be going down that road tho, so we have to hope Arteta and flamini are enough.

  17. cardo87 says:

    What we learnt was that because we won, it was only because city were poor and missing sooooo many players, at least this is the case the media portray. This is the man city that can apparently field 2-3 full prem line ups lol.
    Last season uniteds defence was that they had won a trophy, charity shield. Now we have won it, it’s not really a trophy lol
    My point is it seems everyone is reluctant to praise the mighty Arsenal, and whilst I’m not getting carried away, teams will fear us, especially with 1 or 2 more key signings. Come on Gooners!!

  18. leo says:

    na$ris is still a j*rk

    1. Twig says:

      Is that your transfer gist of the day?

  19. Drew says:

    Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal!… Hahaha Owen (The Twat who secretly loves Arsenal) says we have made the signing of the season. Yes, we don’t give a sh*t bout what he has to say but he is RIGHT for once ha ha.

  20. fed-up gunner says:

    With. Theses players, arsene. Just needs 2 get his tactics right…. And 2. Signings please

  21. Skandalouz says:

    The ‘switch’ between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 isn’t that big, it just means we have the best off-the-ball-moving midfielder in the world at the moment. At times it even looks like 4-2-4 or 4-5-1, I don’t really think anyone should be pointing a certain formation out, Arsenal’s squad movement is too flexible and fluid for that.

    Very impressed with what Sanchez and Chambers did so far, and there’s so much short-term potential in the use of those 2. Debuchy totally plays like he’s bene here for years, nothing but credit to that. The belief, experience, confidence and focus our lads have at the moment is something truly unique and Wenger deserves nothing but praise for that after some ‘grey’ years.

  22. Twig says:

    Appears Chambo is ahead of Campbell in the team selection. Wonder how many games Campbell will manage this season. I still feel we need a proper No. 9 to consistently put away the chances players like Cazorla and Ozil will create. A player like Huntelaar, Klose, Dzeko and Gomez is what I have in mind.

    1. Jimbeam says:

      Dzeko would be ideal for us, faster, stronger and a better finisher than Giroud.

      Everybody thinks that Giroud/Sanogo will be the answer to our striking problems this year. I highly doubt it. I hope to be proven wrong but I dont see either one of them as a striker for Arsenal. Sanogo need s to go out on loan and become a Lukaku. Giroud needs to be an impact sub.

      Play Sanchez upfront flanked by Theo and OX or Cazorla or Campbell

  23. ChristopherHWinters says:

    The Germans are back!

  24. Oga@dtop says:

    I was expecting the writer to itemize the fiver instead of muddling them up. @ Tony balle. Are u d next to Fibsu balle? Longest tym.

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