Arsenal produced a stunning display of attacking football to crush Benfica, 5-1, in their opening game of the Emirates Cup.
FT: Arsenal 5-1 Benfica! Great game! The whole team was excellent! Can't really fault anyone! #EmiratesCup— Jack Sheehan (@SHEESH4N) August 2, 2014
Yaya Sanogo netted four times, and Joel Campbell was also on target, as Arsene Wenger's men served notice of the quality in their ranks ahead of the new Premier League season.
Campbell earned his chance at Arsenal on the back of a fine season with Olympiakos and impressive World Cup.
On three minutes, the Costa Rican whetted the appetite for things to come with a direct run into the box. A crude challenge halted Campbell in his tracks, but referee Lee Mason waved away the penalty appeals.
Benfica were on the back foot as Arsenal dominated, but they carried a threat, and Nicolas Gaitan saw an effort from 18 yards graze the crossbar.
The right-hand side of the field was a rich seam for Arsenal to exploit, and Hector Bellerin put his full talent on display with a dynamic run that was only halted by a handful of Benfica defenders.
Aaron Ramsey had his creative boots on, and a great dinked pass put Campbell in the clear, but he elected to shoot first time, and the chance went begging.
The chances kept coming for Arsenal, and on 26 minutes, they converted one. It was Ramsey at the heart of the action, as a brilliant turn created space for the Welshman.
He drove forward before picking out Sanogo, and he turned the ball home with a backheel finish.
Arsenal’s Yaya Sanogo has opened his goal-scoring account for the Gunners with a cool finish: https://t.co/RccPNIflEI— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) August 2, 2014
A second goal came Arsenal's way on 40 minutes, with Campbell volleying home following an excellent run and cross from Bellerin.
Joel Campbell can play the first-Arsenal-goal game, too. Quite a finish from the Costa Rican star: https://t.co/TDFXkd4dFe— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) August 2, 2014
The Gunners overwhelmed Benfica after netting the second, and two goals in a minute shortly before the break dealt a knockout blow to the Portuguese side.
Both goals came from Sanogo, who wrapped up a first-half hat-trick. His second was a simple tap-in following good interplay between Ramsey and Campbell.
The treble came on the stroke of half-time when he stuck out a long leg to flick the ball over the keeper.
Sanogo had the taste for goals, and his fourth arrived on 49 minutes. Benfica keeper Artur Moraes did well to keep out a low shot from Campbell, but Sanogo was alive and reacted first to stab the ball home.
Arsenal made a raft of changes and appeared to switch off shortly past the hour, as Gaitan headed home after the Gunners failed to deal with a long throw.
Arsenal scored netted five goals, but one of the biggest cheers of the day was reserved for the arrival of new signing Alexis Sanchez on 74 minutes.
The Chilean showed a couple of bright touches, giving an indication of what might come in the weeks and months ahead.
Arsenal denied Benfica any further chances of note to seal the win, and with the Emirates Cup rewarding attacking play, their win and five goals took them on to eight points ahead of the clash with Monaco on Sunday.
Wenger spoke to BT Sport immediately after the game: “We had a great first half and what was interesting was the quality of the game. It was an opportunity to see some of the younger players. I liked the way we played together.”
The Frenchman then turned his attentions to the transfer market. “Who is next I don’t know. There could still be one more signing, maybe two maximum. If a good opportunity comes up we might do it, but at the moment we are not close to signing anybody.”