Arsenal served up their first full meal of the season. Starting with small plates of delicious looking gems from the Cazorla menu, which was followed by perfectly prepared mains by Sanogo and Ramsey, and after you thought there was no room left the night was topped off with a light and airy Giroud dessert. At the end, Arsenal fans could sit back, loosen their belts and have a smoke with Jack Wilshere as the team lifted their platter high above Chez Wembley.
Arsenal looked the more interesting team from the start, beating the frenetic City press with perfectly executed triangle passes and breathtaking movement. You could see a preview of what was to come shortly as Arsenal’s new signing, Alexis Sanchez collected the ball time and again in midfield and looked to play in Yaya Sanogo. Sanogo was always on the move and a few weeks worth of practice and playing two-a-days has vastly improved his touch. He looked dangerous throughout the match but nearly served up the first meal when he was played in on a great run off Boyata’s shoulder, took a perfect touch to escape his marker and fired a shot just wide of the post.
No surprise then when chef Sanogo helped serve up the amuse-bouche of the day. Sanchez offered him the ball, and a bit of a heavy touch from Sanogo left it to Wilshere, who was fouled but managed to back heel to Cazorla. Cazorla jinked left, then went right, and fired back across goal, between Clichy’s legs, and into the net. A four piece amuse with a hint of fresh nutmeg sprinkled on top.
Between Alexis and Cazorla the two were feeding Sanogo a series of appetizing passes and the big man did well nearly every time the ball was at feet. Only once was he shoved off the ball and that was by the man many Arsenal fans are begging Wenger to buy, Matija Nastasic. Other than that one play, Sanogo was excellent in almost all aspects of his game, holding the ball up, breaking on the counter, making runs behind the defenders, and even once providing the splitting pass to Alexis Sanchez to run onto.
That was a brilliant bit by Sanogo, I must say. He had been caught offside on the previous play and City countered. But Arsenal won the defensive battle and this time Sanogo stopped in midfield rather than making one of the runs as he had been making all game. Alexis passed him the ball and Sanogo waited for the Chilean to make his own run and then played a near perfect 20 yard splitting pass for Arsenal’s newest signing. Unfortunately, the ball was a little long and City’s ‘keeper Willy came out and collected the ball off Alexis’ feet. Unlucky Alexis.
Sanogo had a big hand in the second goal as well — the main course. Sanchez collected the ball off the counter, played in Sanogo who, this time, fended off Nastasic and then rolled a little pass to Ramsey. Rambo still had some work too do, but he peppered his marker and shot across goal for Arsenal’s second. A deliciously served main course which sated the Arsenal’s fans appetites.
But there would be more. Like the French waiter who brings you the dessert menu after you think you couldn’t possibly eat another bite, Olivier Giroud picked up a Ramsey pass, used his strength to hold off his marker, and looped in a wonder goal from 25 yards. Whether it took a deflection o not is up for debate but the ‘keeper had no chance as the shot had wicked top spin.
Throughout the match Debuchy looked great going forward and in defense, Arsenal’s constant runner — moving easily between offense and defense and serving up platters to the attackers or collecting City’s used dishes at the back. Meanwhile, Calum Chambers put in yet another assured performance as our dish dog — doing all the dirty work cleaning up the messes behind the scenes. Time and again Chambers threw himself into blocks and tackles in order to save Arsenal blushes and assure the clean sheet. I can’t wait to see what he can do brought forward into the prep cook role as Arsenal’s defensive midfielder of the future.
To do that, however, I think Arsenal needs to make one or two more buys. There are currently only 6 men covering 4 positions and you would normally want 8. A number of names have been mooted but I suspect the player will need to be left footed and play as cover for Koz/Nacho/Gibbs rather than right footed and cover for Per/Calum/Debuchy. I mentioned Micah Richards’ name on twitter and I’m changing my mind here, I think the player needs to be lefty. A left footed player who can play center back, left back, and defensive midfield? Would that be the perfect way to end this summer of gluttony or would it be the wafer thin mint at the end of the meal?
That I’ll leave to the boss but for now Arsenal fans have two trophies to celebrate, bookending the summer. I’ve seen it asked if the Charity Shield counts as a trophy? If you’re a sportsman you always want to win. To continue the meal analogy, you always want to get that last drop of delicious wine in the bottom of the glass. And so to Arsenal’s players, fans, and manager I’m sure winning today, and winning in convincing fashion, even if it is a friendly, is as welcome as discovering a new dish at your favorite restaurant.