Arsenal’s new signings Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac stood out with “strong” and “outstanding” performances, manager Arsene Wenger said after his side beat Chelsea to win the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
Reading too much into the result of the traditional season curtain-raiser is ill-advised but there were positive signs for Arsenal following their 4-1 penalty shootout victory against their London rivals.
None more so than the performances of Kolasinac, whose goal capped a hugely impressive afternoon, and record signing Lacazette who showed enough to suggest he could be the lethal striker Arsenal have needed for so long.
The 26-year-old was not heavily involved but hit the post with a curling effort in the first half and, given the eventual service of Mesut Ozil plus dynamism of Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez, could flourish in north London.
“Lacazette is getting stronger every week and today is the first time you see that physically he is ready,” a relaxed Wenger told reporters.
“He still needs to adapt to the intensity of the game but overall in the first half he had some very interesting moments and I believe, after what we saw today, he will become stronger and stronger.
“(Kolasinac) came on very well. He had a very interesting performance last week and I had a hesitation to play him from the start but when he came he was outstanding.
“His physicality will make it easier for him to adapt to the Premier League. You have players who are pumped up in the gym and players who are born strong — he is the second.
“His power will play a part but it’s not the only thing. We took him because of his attitude. You need a combination of talent and attitude and he looks to me as if he has both.
The Gunners were without a host of players including Ozil, Sanchez and Ramsey — all of whom have niggles ahead of their season opener against Leicester City on Friday.
With a first-team squad of 33, the Gunners are not short of options, but Wenger said he will be looking to move some players on before the season gets underway.
“We will let some players go because too much competition for places is too detrimental. Not enough competition for places is detrimental also. 33 is too high,” the Frenchman said.
“Today was encouraging, but nothing more. We want to find a good balance of the confidence we can get out of this game and the urgency that every Premier League game demands.
“We’ve had some bad starts in the last four years but we’ve had intensity in our games and the preparation that’s needed to be ready so let’s go into the Premier League now with the same discipline, the same spirit and let’s see where we can go.”