Arsenal added another piece of silverware to the Emirates Stadium trophy cabinet following their 3-0 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday.
That’s two trophies for Arsene Wenger’s side in three months, with three of the team’s four new signings this summer on show at Wembley.
Arsenal have been ambitious in the market this summer, keen on build on their FA Cup win last season and cement their place as one of Europe’s biggest and most able clubs. The Community Shield will only add to the confidence felt at the club.
Here’s a look at six things we learned from Arsenal’s win over Manchester City.
There can be no substitute for the impact and boost in morale generated from new signings, especially new signings that can be deemed world class and who can play a big part in attaining silverware.
Alexis Sanchez wasn’t fully fit, with Arsene Wenger confirming so both in his half-time substitution of the Chilean and his post-match comments. But Alexis was lively on the right side of Arsenal’s attack, the flank where much of the team’s good play came from.
The Chilean very much showcased how influential he can be in Arsenal’s attacking play, linking up well with Yaya Sanogo as a creator, and getting on the end of scoring opportunities.
And to analyse the right-back position, there has been no great lose of quality in what Mathieu Debuchy brings going forward. In fact, he looks far better in the final third than Bacary Sagna, even if the latter is more assured in his own half.
But Debuchy is a full international with Premier League experience. There will be no shock to the system for the Frenchman.
Arsenal have a good base of players, as we saw last season. But the team had been missing key elements to turn a good side into a strong title contender. Those added elements were on display in the 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon.
Calum Chambers was signed from Southampton in July as a prospect, one for the future. The youngster now finishes preseason with Arsenal as a legitimate option at centre-back (or perhaps in central midfield), rather than as understudy to Mathieu Debuchy at right full-back.
There’s always going to be a degree of risk attached to fielding players as young as Chambers at the highest level of football, but when it comes to players of his talent, that trepidation does start to go out the window. If you’re good enough, no matter your age, you will play.
And Chambers looked confident and assured at centre-back, first alongside Laurent Koscielny and then with Nacho Monreal in the second half.
It may not be what Arsenal fans had in mind when last season’s calls for reinforcements at central defence spilled into this summer. But Chambers, regardless of his age, is very much proving to be good enough as one of Arsene Wenger’s centre-back options this season.
Maybe it was more to do with Arsenal’s three-man midfield outnumbering Manchester City’s two, but we can take a lot of positives from Jack Wilshere’s performance alongside Aaron Ramsey in the centre of the pitch.
Anchoring the two was Mikel Arteta, who, despite slowing down of late, adds plenty of leadership and experience to the side. There’s still something calming about the presence of Arsenal’s new captain when in possession.
But Wilshere has needed to start this season positively after recent comments by Tony Adams, and the midfielder would have been happy with his performance at Wembley.
It’s understandable that he won’t have the confidence of Ramsey at this stage, but the Welshman’s positivity in the side can be infectious, and pairing him with Wilshere over the long term can prove to be a success. Wilshere very much had a back-to-basics approach about his game on Sunday, and working with a three-man midfield formation may be something Wenger continues to pursue in the future. He certainly has the right personnel for a 4-3-3 to be a success.
No one would have thought Olivier Giroud had a strike like that in his locker. Such was the quality of his goal that the Frenchman was awarded the Man of the Match accolade, despite not doing a whole lot else during his time on the pitch.
There have been calls suggesting a deflection, but it won’t matter. Giroud still contributed to Arsenal’s win in an emphatic way. This isn’t just a striker moulded for six-yard box action; he has a little bit more about him, building on from his showings for France at the World Cup.
He may not be good enough to lead Arsenal to a league title, but as another option in the team and a vastly experienced full international, Giroud is far from a bad player.
Yaya Sanogo has had little other choice but to learn on the job, rather than making the steady climb from his Ligue 2 days with Auxerre to being a Premier League striker. It’s meant, though understandable, there have been a handful of frustrations along the way.
Sanogo, however, looked good in the Community Shield, starting as Arsenal’s centre-forward, with Alexis on the right and Giroud on the bench. He’s raw, but the young French striker does have a lot of qualities to like, including his movement and strength.
His future is yet to be decided, with the possibility of a loan move before the transfer window closes. But there is evidence that Sanogo could prove to be a smart investment by Wenger in the near future.
For the first time in many years, Arsenal look to have an exceptionally strong department of attackers.
The first half saw Alexis, Yaya Sanogo and Santi Cazorla form the front three. In the second half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell were introduced. And there’s still Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski to return.
Arsenal fans may feel there is a need for another centre-forward, someone of a higher class than Giroud and a little more clear cut than Alexis. But there is no shortage of firepower, and that responsibility to fire Arsenal to silverware can quite feasibly be shared among the host of great attacking options at Wenger’s disposal.
There’s still time left in the window and Arsenal are far from running out of cash to spend. Joel Campbell may go out on loan and another forward may be brought in, with Douglas Costa recently linked. But what is certain is that the team is looking notably healthy in attack. A far cry from the days of relying solely on one viable option at centre-forward.