By Mike Collett
Arsenal, who went nine years without a trophy before winning the FA Cup in May, collected their second piece of silverware in three months when they crushed champions Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
Arsenal thoroughly deserved their emphatic win in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new English season with goals from Santi Cazorla after 21 minutes, Aaron Ramsey after 42 and a stunning long-range third from Olivier Giroud just past the hour.
City were without seven players who played in the World Cup while Arsenal were missing their three German World Cup winners Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski.
But the Gunners, fielding three debutants including 35.0 million pounds ($58.71 million) striker Alexis Sanchez, were far sharper than City who look like they have plenty of work to do before the start of the new Premier League campaign next weekend.
Arsenal deservedly went ahead when a neat move on the edge of the box involving Jack Wilshere ended with Cazorla shimmying to his left and scoring with a low angled shot that eluded City debutant goalie Willy Caballero.
Cazorla, who went 19 matches without a goal last season before scoring Arsenal’s first in their 3-2 FA Cup final win over Hull City, made it two goals in two matches at Wembley with an unerring touch and he combined well with Wilshere before going off in the second half.
Arsenal never loosened their grip and Yaya Sanogo, their 21-year-old French striker who failed to score in 14 appearances last season, should have made it 2-0 four minutes later but wasted an opportunity by dragging his shot wide.
Arsenal always looking sharper and quicker than City’s labouring midfielders and added to their lead three minutes before halftime.
Sanogo held off City defender Dedryck Boyata before laying off for Ramsey who controlled the ball with one touch and powered it into the net for another Wembley goal after his winner in the Cup Final last season.
Chilean Sanchez, bought from Barcelona to provide more firepower for Arsenal, played wide on the right and had a quiet half but showed some clever touches before being substituted at halftime.
City came into the match more after the break, but Giroud, named man of the match, wrapped up the victory with a thunderous 30-yard shot that, like the first two goals, Caballero had no chance of saving.
City came closest to scoring when Stevan Jovetic headed against a post in the 52nd minute but they were generally poor and lacked an edge without the likes of captain Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta.
The game made a little bit of history with vanishing spray used for the first time in an English game when referee Michael Oliver pressed the button on his canister after 38 minutes for a Manchester City freekick in the middle of the field.