In depth review of Arsenal v Man City – Gunners warn their rivals

FA Community Shield Review – Manchester City FC vs Arsenal FC by SE

For the first time in 12 years, this season’s FA Community Shield took place without one of Manchester United or Chelsea being a part of the momentous occasion. However, Manchester City FC and Arsenal FC took to Wembley for the annual curtain raiser, as the FA Community Shield is prominently called, having won the Premier League and FA Cup from the preceding season respectively.

Manchester City palpably, and expectedly, started with their second string side, which still boasted of Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Stevan Jovetic, Jesus Navas and the new recruit from FC Porto, Fernando Reges. Willy Caballero, former Malaga goalkeeper, started on goal for the Premier League champions, ahead of England’s No.1 Joe Hart. The defence, with the missing World Cup stars in Kompany, Zabaleta and Demichelis, had a rather strange look to it. Clichy, who is a left full back traditionally, played at Right-Back, with Kolarov playing at Left-Back. Boyata and Nastasic played at the heart of Manchester City’s defence.

Arsenal’s lineup was an anticipated one, with the new recruits in Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers starting the game for the FA Cup winners. Yaya Sanogo lead the line for Arsenal, ahead of Olivier Giroud, and Cazorla, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs and Koscielny completed a promising Arsenal lineup. Arsenal’s No.1 Szczesny started on goal.

First Half

It was a peculiar start to the game from both teams, as I, for a minute or two, was wondering whether it was something other than even a frivolous pre-season game. It was slow, disillusioned and obnoxious to watch.

Arsenal, though, were the better of the two teams, albeit a bit slow with their passing and movement early on. The Gunners lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, which shifted to 4-1-4-1 when they were off possession, with Arteta playing as the sole Mid-Field pivot behind Wilshere and Ramsey. Sanchez and Cazorla took up the right and left flanks respectively, with Sanogo playing as the Center-Forward.

Manchester City’s defence, which was always going to be a worry, with Boyata and Nastasic starting, lived up to expectation. And, prior to Arsenal opening their scoring, they had a couple of openings, which weren’t taken full advantage of.

However, in the 21st minute of the match, Arsenal harnessed Man City’s dodgy defending. The ball was played in from the Right-Wing by Sanchez, and Boyata’s clumsy challenge on Wilshere, outside the box, lead to the Referee Michael Olivier waving play on, and Cazorla jumped on to the ball, sucking Clichy out of position and drilling a left-foot shot past Caballero to find the bottom corner.

Arsenal were off and flying!

And Arsenal weren’t required to shift into any lower gear, as they were up against a Man City side that hardly played Football, let alone a match of this consequence.

Arsenal’s defence was at fault a couple of times during the first period, with Chambers pressurized into making one or two awkward passes, which served as a warning to the former Saints man.

Debuchy bursting forward was a sight to behold, as he combined well with Sanchez, but he didn’t quite trackback, which lead to Kolarov exploiting the Frenchman inside-out. On one occasion, Kolarov’s intricate play against Debuchy created an opening for the Serbian to drift into the box and drill a cross in to find Jovetic, and Arsenal were lucky to escape a major scare.

As the match approached Half Time, Arsenal were at it again. Man City, with their labored approach, lost possession, and found themselves getting caught on the break. Sanchez, hanging high up the pitch, received the pass after a Man City move had broken down, and found Sanogo with a through ball. The French striker held the ball up, and shrugged off Boyata, his solitary marker, to find the arriving Ramsey, who right-footed past Caballero to put Arsenal 2-0 ahead.

Surely the game was Arsenal’s to lose, and the lead remained the same, as the players headed into the tunnel at the half-way-point of the match.

Second Half

Right at the start of the second period, both managers made changes to their starting lineups. Pellegrini brought on David Silva for the ex-Gunner Samir Nasri, who got jeered by the Arsenal faithful every time he took a touch. Arsene Wenger made three changes to his lineup, as he subbed off Sanchez, Koscielny and Sanogo for Chamberlain, Monreal and Giroud.

Man City, with the injection of Silva, started off the second period with a bit more purpose and incision than what they managed until then. And,

Szczesny was called into action a couple of times during the early tussles of the second half. On the 52nd minute, Jesus Navas crossed in from the Right-Wing to pick out Jovetic, whose soft header had the Polish Goal-Keeper in a spot of bother. And, even though he palmed it away, it again fell to Jovetic, who, this time, fired it high and not-so-handsome.

Minutes later, Jovetic had another chance to reduce Arsenal’s two goal lead, as Kolarov picked out the injury-prone striker inside the box. Jovetic took a touch to set himself up, and struck it from inside the box, but Szczesny parried it away firmly, and Arsenal yet again escaped narrowly.

At the hour mark, Pellegrini made two more changes, as he injected the industry of Milner for Dzeko and the feisty Zuculini for Toure. Manchester City resorted from their traditional 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1, with Jovetic playing as the sole striker.

A minute later, the under-fire French striker Giroud came up with a moment of sheer brilliance. He struck a shot from 25-yards out, which swerved and dipped appropriately to catch the Goal-Keeper out, and find the back of the net for the 3rd time. It was 3-0 to Arsenal, and it was damage-control-mode from the Premier League champions. The dominance wasn’t quite on show, and despite a rather weak defence playing against a top-drawer Arsenal frontline, Man City’s attack never clicked, and they just weren’t up for it.

Subsequently, more substitutions followed from both managers, as Arsenal completed the final rituals to bury Man City and lift this year’s FA Community Shield.

It was a satisfying performance from Wenger’s wizards, and it would serve as a huge warning to their Premier League rivals who will now have a different Arsenal to combat, compared to previous seasons.

Tags Giroud Ramsey Sanogo


  1. Nothing defines banter than fielding Monreal as a Centre-Back and getting a clean sheet agains Man City!

  2. still not good enought till we sign…

    a striker

    a DM

    a backup DM

    a Centreback

    then we are ready

    1. Still not ready for the season until hafiz gives us his crazy transfer situations that make us wonder if he’s a troll or just delusional with a hint of crazy

        1. I actually thought Monreal played better as a CB yesterday than he does at LB – good call by Wenger to train him there. So Hafiz i think we are set on the backup CB spot, but I agree that a DM is still needed.

          1. Got to be kiddin….arsenal have suffered recently from playing quality players out of position … Sadly Monreal isn’t quality and the belief that over a season we have adequate back up with him as CB is just dumb beyond belief…this was a good win against an under strength competitor…but we need a DM and another striking option for sure….despite their lack of fitness they still dominated possession and chunks of midfield…think with a couple of additions the game on the 13th can be ours for the taking though

            1. Wenger tried Monreal there just to see what would happen in case he needs an emergency CB sometime – that is all.

              And in fact, Monreal did a good job in this one game.

            1. Like who? What top centre back will come to sit on the bench? The reason we have had to.let vermaelen go is he can’t get past per and kos. To get better than them is really hard. Hummels could be but having just been named captain, dortmund are showing clear intention to hold on to him. I actually think the height thing doesn’t really matter anymore. Arsenal are one of the few teams with really big striker, it’s more important to be good on the floor.

              The monreal and chambers experiments are working in my opinion. It will be good for both players, because the one position that you really have to defend and hardly push up is centre back. Monreal was often guilty of getting caught out when pushing up, this is allowing him to focus on his defending.

  3. More like a match report rather than a review but nice read anyway. It was a pretty good performance all around but that midfield needs an anchor asap. That is the most obvious priority that will cost us some points if Arsene doesn’t sign someone fast…

  4. A great match and as Wenger said a near perfect performance. But still i would like to point out a couple of improvement areas :

    Debuchy : Was dangerous going forward as expected. And most often in very froward advanced position. So unsurprisingly a but shaky defensively. He needs to balance his offensive instinct with the defensive duties a bit more.

    CDM : Whatever chances City created they were almost all from the counter attacks. Last season also this was our Achilles heel and there was a glimpse of that yesterday too. Against the counter attacks CDM is always the first line of defense but Arteta was almost virtually non existent owing to his lack of pace while tracking back.

    Excited for the season 🙂

  5. This season is going to be interesting. many teams have a chance for a top 4 finish and win the EPL. I just want Arsenal to compete for the trophy till the end….

    1. I think we should expect 1more signing according to wenger. A versatile player – who can play as a defensiv mid and 4th choice cb. For all the reus and hummel admirers, reus is going nowhere and hummels just been made the new captain of dotmond. I will go with a def mid that can play as a cb(trust wengers judgement on whoever he signs).

  6. one thing that irked me in this match is that the midfield and offense became lazy once we were up by 3 goals. i know the chances of teams coming back from being 3 down is low, but we have seen the craziest things in this sport and it a comeback could have sprouted given that we were playing Man City.

    BTW – you guys prob talked about this in an earlier article, but did you hear what Nasri said about us booing him? What an idiot.

  7. It was a great performance from the gunners, now time to focus on our next game against our london neighbours palace

  8. Highly pleasing performance and result, great means of preparation for start of the season. Was a bit frustrated initially to see the half time subs, but looking back it’d good to see Wenger was smart In his overall approach to this game, using it as the final pre season run out to improve fitness and sharpness of the squad.

    Like the 4-1-4-1 setup, but just not liking Arteta to be our anchor man. Carvalho’s ability to play Centre back as well DM I hope will be the impetus for Wenger to focus his attentions there, as I think he may shy away from 2 signings and just get the 1, but hope I’m wrong

  9. Two wins two losses.
    Nothing to write home about
    nothing to get upset about.
    No one starred no one messed up
    but when no team is at full strength
    when multiple changes are made and
    when no one tackles it’s all a bit of giggle really.
    Have the basic deficiencies been addressed?
    Who knows we have not played a real game yet
    and the window is still open. Its early days.
    A fairly straight forward home against Palace
    and a bit of challenge at Besiktis ought to prepare
    the team for the first real test at Everton.

    1. Let’s see… Have the deficiencies been addressed?

      Sagna replacement.. Check!
      Fabianski replacement… Check!
      Utility defender.. Check!
      World-class forward who can stretch defenses and penetrate lines.. Check!
      World-class fitness coach to address squad fitness and prevention of injury.. Check!
      Vermaelan replacement.. Not yet
      DM.. Not yet

      David’s very real, not made up, completely reasonable deficiencies to be addressed…
      Complain about youth policy and promoting from within but then claim we should gut the squad of it’s experienced heads and bring in Khedira and Cavani… Check!!
      Claim anyone in the squad who’s ever had an injury is an ‘injury wreck.’ check!!
      Complain and add up wages of players who aren’t superstars by the time they’re 20, and give an imaginary timeline of ‘one more season or they’re off to west ham.’ Check!!
      Criticize Wenger for buying another ‘attacking midfielder’ in Sanchez, also that we should release Sanogo only to perform a complete u-turn the next week and now say the attack is good to go… Check!!
      Not able to find any positives in a very convincing win against the previous seasons champions in a semi-competitive fixture.. Check!!

    1. i want to hope that’s some sort of reference to the captains curse in a light-hearted way…
      but unfortunately it’s not is it??
      how’s FIFA career mode going today?? bring in any superstars or what!?

  10. I thought City were woeful defending as a unit yesterday Ramseys goal optimised that!
    Yaya toure lazy Fernando wasn’t great they missed Fernandinho.
    Debauchee looks better then Sagan at right back.
    Gibbs almost got injured without anyone touching him!!!
    I expect to see Monreal playing a lot this season.
    Chambers was solid enough regardless of him being skinned a few times.
    Kosielny our best Centre half.
    I think we are still a couple short of winning the league.
    I think Chelsea are easily going to win the title.
    I think will finish 2nd.

  11. Gibbs very good. Kept Nawas quiet. And was deadly going forward. Two things I learnt from this game. First: Will be very difficult to bench Cazorla. AFC cannot do without him. He did everything right! Second: Defence lacking in pace. Chambers was very good but on two occasions beat for pace by Dzeko and he is not the fastest in the EPL!

    1. The only problem is where to use Cazorla. He really only plays well in the middle – Ozil plays his best there also. When assigned to the LW Cazorla either plays poorly when he stays out wide and he plays great when he goes to the middle all game as he often does but this vacates the LW.

      Sometimes the extra CM works well but sometimes not. Last season many teams figured out that Arsenal were only attacking up the middle so they just jammed the middle with defenders and Arsenal struggled. Wenger must have a plan B this season if he wants to use Cazorla as an extra CM/pretend L. winger.

      1. Well cazorla didn’t play poorly yesterday, after chambers he was my man onvthe match. Loads of positives yesterday but all I am reading is arsenal fans looking for a negative.

        Lifting the shield should be a happy occassion. For one just being in the match shows you had a good previous season, I was there and even before kick off you could see this match meant more to arsenal because of the vast sea of empty seats in the city end.

  12. Manure won a handful of trophies with average and overage players coz of one thing….winning mentality. Its two trophies in 2 months boys and we got this . Now have ozil, Walcott and my swit chap poldi back its all system goooooo

    1. ManU had a winning mentality AND the corrupt influence and referee favoritism that Fergie enjoyed. This gave them 3-4 results per season that they otherwise would not have had if the officiating had been even and fair. These few results often gave them just enough points to take the league.

      The Fergie influence over the officials should not be underestimated. That is one reason why ManU struggled under Moyes even though Moyes was a proven manager. When Fergie was no longer there, the ridiculous decisions in favor of ManU disappeared.

      ManU may need to learn how to play and win without all the dubious referee decisions that “just happened to fall their way” under Fergie.

  13. Here is my list for 20+ goals for gunners this season. Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey, carzola, Sanchez and ozil . Keep in mind two assists equals a goal in my world. Following closely we have wilshere, chambo, sanogo and Joel campbell

    1. Using your 2 assists equals 1 goal criteria, your list seems reasonable.

      In fact, using your formula, Giroud had 27 goals last season.

  14. This was a pre-season game but…. this was a far more competitive and representative game than earlier pre-season games which featured a mob of reserve players and a dozen substitutions.

    I am cautious and reserved but I was also a little impressed because Arsenal were clearly more ready for a real game than City.

    City had a weakened defense but employed a top-notch attacking force and they were not able to break down Arsenal – partly because Arsenal controlled the midfield quite well.

    I thought Sanchez played better than many fans did. His pass to Sangogo for the 2nd goal was fantastic. And he nearly broke a couple of runs open to the goal. I like it.

  15. the big problem is injuries…
    Man City have 4 pure strikers and in all positions have also 4 players, so they don’t care about injuries..
    we need at least 1 CB, 1 DM, 1 Striker

    1. It is true Man City can afford more injuries because of depth. But even they will suffer when the right player is missing. Last season they struggled mightily when Aguero was out and Jovetich was not available due to nagging injuries.

    2. I am happy with our defence, but would be overjoyed if we can convince another top centre back to join us. If not
      Rb – debuchy bellerin (chambers)
      Cb – mertesacker koscielney chambers miquel (monreal) hayden
      Lb – gibbs monreal (miquel)

      Have to say chambers look awesome and I would have no problem him actually making the starting x1 as a Dm. Then he would act as a cover for the other two positions as well.

  16. Hate other fans trying to say that we only beat a the city reserve side. Since when was Toure, Silva and Nasri in the reserves?

    1. They just refuse to admit that Arsenal are genuine title contenders, like almost every pundit in the United Kingdom.

    2. It is simply envy and it is untrue. The defense was weakened but they used an attacking force that cost hundreds of millions and still did not score.

      And Arsenal did not have Mert, Kos, Ozil or Walcott – 4 of the best in the club.

      Arsenal were simply the better team in that game.

  17. I think it is the correct and right thing to do promoting Arteta to Captain from VC. Even if we buy a DM player and Arteta doesn’t start many games he clearly is well respected by the players and is a good choice as an on and off the pitch leader. Promoting someone above him would be crushing for him and it’s likely this will be his last season with us.
    Yesterday we controlled and dominated the MF largely due to City playing 2 up front, also City never really sprang into pacey action within their MF. When we come up against teams with physical and pacey MF and wingers we will be caught out as both Jack and Mikel are not that fast and will fade if they spend most of the game chasing.
    Off the back of this excellent win I hope we sign a strong, young, fit and aggressive DM, (who can double as CB) this week/next week.
    Again Carvalho would be my first choice.
    P.S. I’m glad Monreal did okay at CB but if we rely on him as cover here it may jeopardise cover for the LB position if he gets injured, (obviously Flam can play LB if required).
    One or two more signings Wenger and we are well and truly ready to roll!!! COYG……..

  18. OT : Reporter: What do you make of Samir Nasri retirement from the international football?

    Deschamps:How do you retire from a non existent job? —

    POOR NASRI if only you learnt to keep your mouth shut!!

    1. Announcing his retirement from a job he never had is, well………. it is just sad.

      BTW: Tomorrow I shall announce my retirement from further international space missions including any and all planned missions to Mars – I shall soar no more.

  19. @Hafiz Rahman

    I agree with some of your comments… Some fans here have already a “hard on” just because we beat Man City in the “meaningless” Community Shield.
    I am not surprised, but those are the same ones who will “insult” the manager when we start stumbling again… And we will, because Wenger has his mind set on playing his brand of football and not worry about the oppositions. Last season we paid it harshly…!!

    He has brought more quality, but at the end, he has just replaced player for player and brought Sanchez and kept Campbell.

    Hopefully a DM or a CB (since Chambers can play DM) is being scouted as we speak…!!

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs