Good afternoon you ‘orrible lot. Right, settle down, get your copybooks out and note down the key lessons from last Sunday’s game at a gloriously sunny Wembley Stadium.
‘Five Things Learnt From The FA Community Shield Victory’:
Alexis Sanchez needs to improve on his passing
A solid, promising debut from Arsenal’s smokin’ hot Chilean, in a game in which he was unlucky to remain searching for his first goal. Sanchez showed his pace, vision and dribbling ability, as well as his tireless defensive work as well.
What I noticed however was his passing somewhat lacking, meaning several promising openings finished fruitless. Whilst this didn’t affect the outcome, these wayward passes – if executed a little better – could have resulted in Manchester City getting a morale-sapping belting from the more up-fer-it Gunners.
Hopefully Sanchez will work on this aspect of his game…because if he does, he could be the most potent Arsenal player since Thierry Henry or Nicholas Anelka.
Aaron Ramsey is the most complete midfielder in the world
I’m struggling to name a midfielder who can match the skill, passing, tackling, shooting and engine that Ramsey’s game offers. Is he the best midfielder in the game at the moment? Certainly Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arturo Vidal would be rivals for this opinion, but I’d say Ramsey tops them.
Has Arsene Wenger ever spent £6m better? Needless to say, Ramsey’s second Wembley goal in two games was all about his workrate, skill, composure and sure-footed finish. A deft flick and hearty thump cemented a well-deserved Arsenal lead, following Santi Cazorla’s emphatic shot earlier. Both midfielders certainly gave Manchester City’s goalie the Willies…
I’ve no idea where Theo Walcott is going to fit in!
With Olivier Giroud the centre-forward of choice (when fit) at the time of writing, and Yaya Sanogo showing each game that he is a viable option, let alone the option of Sanchez, just where will Walcott find himself when he returns for consideration?
One suspects that he’ll start with Sanchez and Giroud in an attacking trident, but with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla and Mesut Özil to consider too, Arsene Wenger has quite the selection headache, which is no bad thing…and will hopefully breed some healthy competition in the squad.
The Press give Manchester City an easy ride
“ARSENAL WON…BUT MAN CITY WERE MISSING NINE PLAYERS!”
…their starting lineup still cost approximately £75m more than Arsenal’s, and The Gunners were also missing their three World Cup winners, as well as their two longest serving squad members; Walcott and Abou Diaby.
I tweeted The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg about this. Steinberg – who had written a very good match report on Monday – seemed to make excuses for the Sky Blues’ defeat; with the absence of City’s missing nine players highlighted early on in his piece…but Arsenal’s missing players were barely noted at all in his column.
Almost a ‘Arsenal won…BUT only because Man City were weaker’ match conclusion. Which may of course be wholly correct…but let us not gloss over the fact Arsenal weren’t at full strength either. It wasn’t Arsenal’s fault that Gael Clichy was deployed at right-back, or that Man City have signed more widemen than there are flanks of a pitch…or that their attackers looked like startled deer when they broke into the Arsenal penalty box…
Manchester City, the £300m champions, had been humbled at Wembley, and yet the press went very easy on them. Yes, it may be little more than a glorified friendly, but would they have been as kind were it Arsenal receiving a spanking from a title rival?!
Despite signing Calum Chambers, Arsenal still look short at centre-back
As yet another captain departs for Cataluña, Arsenal find themselves using Nacho Monreal at left centre-back alongside the hugely promising, but still a rookie Calum Chambers.
Investment is needed. The choices are limited. Lots of questions remain before the league restarts: Who should Arsenal get in to challenge the centre-back slots, do Arsenal still need a defensive midfielder and centre-forward too? And whom? Or should these questions be revisited in January?
A great, morale-boosting win. 3-0 and a match peppered with promising performances and awesome moments. Bring on Tony Pulis, his baseball cap and his revitalised Crystal Palace side.