Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Winners and Losers from Community Shield
Arsenal beat Manchester City convincingly to lift the Community Shield on Sunday, netting three and keeping a clean sheet while starting three of their new summer signings.
It's their second trophy inside four months after a well-documented barren spell, and the murmurs in North London suggest this is a new team we're seeing.
Who were the winners and losers from the seasonal curtain raiser?
Winner: Calum Chambers
Calum Chambers played his first competitive club match at centre-back in place of the unavailable Per Mertesacker on Sunday, acing the audition and wowing the fans.
He was calm and composed throughout; he positioned himself well and looked exceptional in the air. The Gunners were strong at the back last season bar the odd monstrosity, and Chambers looks a neat, versatile acquisition.
Loser: Willy Caballero
The 3-0 scoreline wasn't harsh on Manchester City, but you do feel some sympathies for Willy Caballero.
Manuel Pellegrini gave the new Citizens shot-stopper a chance to shine in lieu of Joe Hart on Sunday, but his porous defensive line exposed him too early, too often.
He had absolutely no chance for Olivier Giroud's wonder goal either.
Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail reports that Pellegrini is still to decide if Caballero or Hart will play in the Premier League opener against Newcastle next weekend.
The City manager is quoted as saying: "All 22 players we have in our squad must demonstrate who is No. 1 in all positions. Joe finished last season playing well. We will see next Sunday who starts at Newcastle."
In the same article, Ashton notes Hart's form: "In a head-to-head, Hart has won two Premier League titles with City and is the established first-choice England keeper (not that that says very much)."
And Caballero’s: "At 32, Caballero’s last big trophy win was the Copa Libertadores with Boca Juniors in 2003. He was so far off the radar of Argentina coach Alex Sabella he didn’t even make their World Cup squad."
Winner: Arsenal's Midfield Rotation
Arsenal's starting midfield three played exceptionally well, with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere in particular causing Manchester City real problems.
They moved the ball quickly, dropped into space and took advantage of a slack Yaya Toure performance, creating consistent pressure and plenty of chances.
Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Ramsey all interchanged superbly and flummoxed City's 4-4-2 with ease. It was a seriously promising showing.
Loser: Dedryck Boyata
Dedryck Boyata has failed to make a fist of his time at Manchester City, and his performance at Wembley on Sunday may well seal an exit.
The Belgian was given a rare chance to impress with Vincent Kompany still recovering from the World Cup, but he looked incredibly shaky in all areas and was bullied by Arsenal's movement and speed.
With Eliaquim Mangala on the cusp of signing, per Chris Wheeler of The Daily Mail, Boyata's number is likely up.
Winner: Arsenal's Game Plan
Alexis Sanchez's final ball was poor throughout the game, but his movement in space and between the lines—in addition to his running behind the defence—has opened up a part of Arsenal's game plan we've not seen for a while.
With verticality and willing runners, the Gunners look hugely dangerous searing forward once again. Slotting Mesut Ozil back into this team makes it an even more enviable prospect.
Loser: Manuel Pellegrini
It's not often you see Manuel Pellegrini outsmarted so obviously, and while credit goes to Arsene Wenger and sympathy is held with the limited options at his disposal, that is not the Manchester City we expect or want to see.
His 4-4-2, so good last season, appeared asinine in this contest. He failed to react to Arsenal's use of a flatter 4-3-3 and watched his side lose the battle for the middle all game long.
He was working under limitations, but there was a lot more he could have done to make the Citizens competitive in the first half.