Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City: Giroud stunner seals Community Shield win

Arsenal kicked off their season with a convincing 3-0 Community Shield victory over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

Olivier Giroud all but confirmed victory for the Gunners in the second half with a dipping drive from distance which evaded new City goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

Santi Cazorla opened the scoring with a well-taken finish in the first half which comfortably beat Caballero.

And Aaron Ramsey doubled the lead before half time, combining with Yaya Sanogo before displaying excellent skill to get beyond the defence and fire into the bottom corner.

City rallied for a brief spell after the break following the introduction of David Silva, but Giroud sealed the win shortly after the hour mark with his deflected effort.

Injuries and late returns from World Cup commitments combined to leave City without seven of the XI that sealed a second Premier League title in three seasons with a final-day win over West Ham in May, but Arsenal were also missing Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, who helped Germany triumph in Brazil.

It was Arsenal who acquitted themselves to far greater effect in the first half, as showpiece new signing Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla all buzzed inventively behind Yaya Sanogo to torment City’s outgunned midfield and makeshift back four.

Cazorla and Ramsey’s goals for a 2-0 advantage at half-time were the least Arsenal deserved and, although David Silva’s introduction sparked an improvement from City, fellow substitute Olivier Giroud secured the win with an excellent long-range effort.

Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges but clear chances evaded them, and it required a last-ditch challenge from Mathieu Debuchy to prevent Samir Nasri from breaking the deadlock against his former club in the 14th minute.

That chance did nothing to turn the tide for the Premier League champions, for whom Yaya Toure and Fernando were being badly overrun in midfield and the opening goal stemmed from Arsenal exploiting generous amounts of space in front of City’s back four.

Wilshere went to ground under a 21st-minute challenge from Dedryck Boyata but the ball broke to Cazorla on the edge of the box, who shifted the ball onto his left foot to finish clinically.

Sanogo dragged wide following Cazorla’s searching ball in the 25th minute and Fernando lunged to block a drive from the Spain international as Arsenal continued to swarm forward.

Another debutant Arsenal defender, Calum Chambers, made a timely intervention to deny Nasri with the goal gaping on the end of Aleksandar Kolarov’s 39th-minute cross, but Wenger’s men grabbed a deserved second three minutes before the interval.

City were torn apart on the break and Ramsey collected Sanogo’s pass, evaded Matija Nastasic with a cute touch and slotted home.

Sanchez had chances to extend the advantage in stoppage time and a ragged City backline were relieved to hear referee Michael Oliver’s half-time whistle.

Silva’s impact was instant as City resumed on the front foot and Stevan Jovetic headed against the post from Jesus Navas’s 51st-minute centre before blazing the rebound off target.

Jovetic then received Kolarov’s cutback to draw a sharp near-post stop from Wojciech Szczesny – the Arsenal goalkeeper’s first save of note.

But Arsenal sealed victory in style after the hour, as substitute Giroud lashed a dipping 25-yard strike beyond Caballero’s despairing dive, the recent signing from Malaga having been preferred to England’s Joe Hart in Manuel Pellegrini’s line-up.

City’s performance will evoke uncomfortable memories of a pitiful title defence in 2012-13, although their launch of that campaign with a swaggering Community Shield win over Chelsea perhaps undermines this fixture as a useful form guide.