Arsenal 5 - 1 Benfica
Arsenal returned to The Emirates for the first time in their pre-season, taking on Benfica in the Emirates Cup. Familiar faces made the bench, including Giroud, Koscielny, Cazorla - and Alexis Sanchez.
Chambers started at centre-back, alongside Nacho Monreal, whilst Joel Campbell, Yaya Sanogo and Chamberlain made up the front three. It was an exciting lineup, despite the lack of “big boys”.
Benfica started well, but Arsenal were holding their own and keeping the Portuguese out.
Chances fell for Campbell and Sanogo early on, but both spurned their chances. Both though, along with Chamberlain, Ramsey and Bellerin, were looking lively.
After Benfica hit the bar half way through the first period, Arsenal got their act together going forward, and breaking the deadlock in the twenty-sixth minute.
[Joel Campbell] took it first time, brilliantly volleying his shot into the far corner. It was an awesome finish.
Aaron Ramsey turned his marker beautifully before crossing for Sanogo. The big striker used his back leg to drag the ball into the net before him. A smart finish.
Fifteen minutes later, The Gunners struck again. This time, through Joel Campbell.
Bellerin got forward well (and not for the first time either), before crossing for Campbell just inside the box. The Costa Rican took it first time, brilliantly volleying his shot into the far corner. It was an awesome finish.
Then, the goals began to flow.
Sanogo popped up again just before half-time. Ramsey played in Campbell behind the defence, and the striker cut it back for Sanogo, who rolled the ball home.
Minutes later, Yaya Sanogo got his hattrick. A loose ball in the box was sprung upon by the frontman, and he managed to wiggle in a shot as he jostled with his marker, beating the goalkeeper in the process. So, Arsenal were 4-0 up a half time.
But the goals didn’t stop there. Sanogo started the second half with his fourth goal.
In the end, Arsenal were simply too strong for Benfica - and by quite a way too. The best part? It was well and truly a “second-string team”.
Aaron Ramsey’s shot was parried by the Benfica goalkeeper, but only to the feet of Sanogo, who slotted the ball in. Four goals for Sanogo, five for The Arsenal.
The game took on a steadier pace from then on, as Arsenal understandably took their foot off the pedal. Benfica had their moment, getting a headed goal through Gaitan, coming via a long throw-in.
We soon got to see Alexis Sanchez though, who injected some life back into the game. The Chile forward looked energetic, showing off some tidy touches and a very good cross.
In the end, Arsenal were simply too strong for Benfica - and by quite a way too. The best part? It was well and truly a “second-string team”. Exciting times ahead.
Arsenal Player Ratings (First Half)
Pulled off a few good saves throughout the match, look confident, handled the ball well.
Really impressed me. Showed quick feet, good technique and defended well too. Got the assist for Joel Campbell’s goal.
Played at centre-back, and played well. He was confident on the ball, read the game well, and didn’t put a foot wrong.
Nothing to complain about, played with ease. Wenger is trying him at centre-back, and although he isn’t a natural, he’s able.
Got forward well, linked up with the midfield well and defended well too. No problems.
Played okay, although he threw himself around a bit needlessly. Played in a few over-powered through balls too.
Not a great game for Tomas. Passing was iffy, didn’t really impose himself on the game.
The Ox: [7.5/10]
Alex was positive as usual. He was playing well behind Sanogo and Campbell, threading passes and making dangerous runs. Good to see him fit and fighting for a spot.
David Beckham - er, I mean Aaron Ramsey, was on par with what we have come to expect. His touches were silky, his turns were sudden, and his passing was accurate. Got at least two assists.
Joel looked excellent. His first touch was spot on every time, his passing was good, and his work rate was impressive. He looked comfortable on the wings, tracking back to win tackles well. Oh, and his goal? An awesome volley.
Yaya has his doubters, but I like him. Today he showed two great sides to his game; poaching and work rate. He makes runs forwards, he tracks back, and he hassles defenders constantly. Yet, he was always in the right place at the right time today, and he was rewarded with four goals.
Looked okay, but didn’t really do much of interest. Needs to have a big season.
Hit the post after Sanchez found him in the box. Otherwise, nothing much to talk about. Not sure where he fits in - especially as a new DM signing pends.
Only had twenty minutes to strut his stuff, but he strutted anyway. He showed some delicate touches and put in a delicious cross too. Looking good in Red and White, Alexis.
Had limited time, but bombed forward when he got the chance.
Arteta, Miquel [N/A]
The Sanogo Show
It was a great team performance today, against a side who won the Portuguese treble last season, and reach the Europa League final.
However, it was Yaya Sanogo’s day. He got four good goals, working hard and reading well for each of them. He puts a lot of effort into his performances, and although he needs to work on his overall game - and finishing in particular - he deserved his success today.
Campbell also looks highly impressive. His goal was beautiful, and his general play was exciting. Seriously hope we keep hold on of him.
Next up, Monaco on day two of the Emirates Cup.