Vincent Kompany

Majestic Arsenal Batter Below-Par City

The Community Shield saw FA cup holders Arsenal run out 3-0 winners over Premier League champions Manchester City at Wembley.

Santi Cazorla fired Arsenal in front with an expertly executed finish whilst Aaron Ramsey smashed home a second just before half time.

Olivier Giroud completed the rout with a stunning long-range strike over Willy Caballero.

It was a very impressive team display from the North London side who looked solid at the back, dangerous going forward and were rarely troubled by their Premier League rivals.

City, however, offered an extremely flat performance and Manuel Pellegrini made no effort to hide his frustration on the touchline.

Calum Chambers, Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy all made their competitive debuts for Arsenal whilst Fernando and Caballero made their first starts for City.

City were missing some key players such as Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta so Pellegrini won’t be too concerned by how easily his side were dismantled.

Arsenal were also without World Cup winners Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil and will be delighted to have performed so ably without them.

The result should give them a big boost for their match against Crystal palace next weekend but City will need to recover confidence before their opener against Newcastle.

Arsenal started the brighter and Mathieu Debuchy was particularly impressive down the right hand side in the opening exchanges.

Samir Nasri, the former Arsenal player, was verbally abused every time he touched the ball by Arsenal fans.

He almost silenced their jeers in the 13th minute but Calum Chambers was quick to block his goal-bound effort.

It was Arsenal, however, who deservedly took the lead in the 22nd minute through Santi Cazorla.

The Spaniard evaded Gael Clichy on the edge of the City area before firing a low left footed strike into the corner of Caballero’s goal.

Yaya Sanogo, who scored four goals in a pre-season friendly against Benfica, had a chance to score his first competitive goal for Arsenal but dragged his shot wide.

It was Arsenal who continued to impress and Clichy deflected a long-range Cazorla shot for a corner.

Sanogo had another chance from the resulting corner but his header landed comfortably in Caballero’s arms.

City almost equalised five minutes before half time after Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic combined well during a quick break, but a swarm of Arsenal defenders managed to block.

Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey scored moments later, however, to double their advantage. Sanogo held up the ball well in the box and fed Ramsey who smashed the ball past Caballero.

Alexis Sanchez had an opportunity to make it three at the end of the first half but Caballero was quickly out of his area to slide at Alexis’ feet and deny him.

David Silva, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Giroud were introduced at half time for Nasri, Alexis, Laurent Koscielny and Sanogo.

Fernando was booked early in the second half for pulling Jack Wilshire to the ground.

Jovetic came agonisingly close moments later after rising over Debuchy to thump a header against the post.

City had begun the second half much brighter than the first and Wojciech Szczesny was finally called into action to deny Jovetic, who fired a stinging shot towards the keeper’s right hand post.

James Milner and Bruno Zuculini were then introduced by Pellegrini to replace Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure.

Giroud scored an absolute screamer with his left foot from outside the area and bent it over Caballero to give Arsenal a three-goal advantage.

Jovetic, who was City’s most creative attacking force, attempted an elaborate overhead kick but it flew comfortably over the bar.

Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky were then called upon by Wenger to replace Wilshire and Cazorla.

Micah Richards came on for Aleksandar Kolarov as substitutions began to disrupt the flow of the game.

Jesus Navas was also withdrawn for Scott Sinclair and Aaron Ramsey replaced by Joel Campbell; Arsene Wenger’s final substitution.

Dedryck Boyata had a great opportunity to grab a consolation for City but his header from a corner went wide.


Premier League Preview: Manchester City

There are only 4 weeks to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Manchester City.

City enjoyed a successful first season under new boss Manuel Pellegrini and won both the Premier League title and the League Cup. Pellegrini had the strongest squad at his disposal so victory in the league was no real surprise, despite Liverpool pushing them close. The bigger challenge will be retaining the title with Chelsea, city rivals Manchester United and Arsenal all strengthening well.

The Manager
Manuel Pellegrini spent most of his early managerial career working in South America where he won plenty of silverware. He moved to Europe to manage Spanish sides Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga and although he was deemed to be a success he had yet to win a trophy in Europe. There were fears that he would struggle to bring titles required to keep city’s mega-rich owners happy. However, winning two trophies in his first season quickly set those fears aside. Not only did he bring home silverware but he brought together a squad largely divided under former manager Roberto Mancini and developed a far more attractive style of play than his predecessor.

Pellegrini guided City to Premier League glory in his first season as boss

Pellegrini guided City to Premier League glory in his first season as boss

Biggest Signing
City have been fairly quiet in the transfer window thus far, possibly due to their massive financial fair play fine from UEFA, and have signed 3 players to date. Bacary Sagna has joined on a free transfer from Arsenal and will offer competition to Pablo Zabaleta. Goalkeeper Willy Caballero has also been drafted in from Malaga in a deal believed to be worth around £4 million and he will offer fierce competition to Joe Hart having been Pellegrini’s number 1 in his time at Malaga. City’s biggest signing, however, has been completing the transfer of Fernando from Porto. Fernando is a powerful and hardworking defensive midfielder who will add extra bite to the city midfield. Pellegrini may opt to field both Fernando and Fernandinho along with Yaya Toure in the midfield to allow the Ivorian more freedom to get forward.

The much coveted Fernando is a good buy for Pellegrini

The much coveted Fernando is a good buy for Pellegrini

Who is tipped to join them?
Eliaquim Mangala is widely expected to complete a move to Manchester in the coming days for a fee believed to be around £32 million. Ross Barkley is also believed to be on their radar, should Yaya Toure decide to move elsewhere. Finally Paul Pogba has been tipped to be on the move this summer and City are one of the few clubs who could afford him. Pogba used to play for bitter rivals Manchester United so that would be a devastating blow for United fans if it were to come to fruition.

United fans would not be impressed if their rivals City were able to sign Pogba from Juventus

United fans would not be impressed if their rivals City were able to sign Pogba from Juventus

Who should they sign?
Pellegrini has a very strong squad available to him and does not really require too many reinforcements. He has correctly identified centre-back as his weakest position, Vincent Kompany aside, but the signing of Mangala will significantly strengthen them in that regard. Once Mangala arrives, City seem to have strong options and back up in every position and we shouldn’t expect too many more faces through the door.

Mangala is expected to partner Kompany at the heart of City's defence next season

Mangala is expected to partner Kompany at the heart of City’s defence next season

Key Player
Yaya Toure. On his day, Toure is unstoppable. His ability to make powerful, marauding runs across the whole length of the pitch is second to none. He scored 20 league goals last season and, with Fernando added to the midfield to allow him more freedom, it would be no surprise to see him match that feat again this campaign.

Yaya Toure is one of the best players in the Premier League

Yaya Toure is one of the best players in the Premier League

Manchester City have one of the strongest squads in the league and they will be expecting to challenge on four fronts this season. They will be in the title race right till the end but I think they will fall just short of Mourinho’s Chelsea this season. Expect City to finish 2nd.