LONDON - Arsenal delivered a rousing demonstration of their Premier League title credentials by overwhelming league champions Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield at Wembley.
Arsene Wenger's side took charge on Sunday with first-half goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey before substitute Olivier Giroud added a glorious long-range third.
With new signing Alexis Sanchez also impressing on a sunny afternoon in northwest London, Arsenal's fans will hope it proves the precursor to a sustained title challenge, after seeing their side fall away last season.
"Two things were important today: to win a trophy, even though it is not a major one, and to play well, and I am very happy because we played some very good football," said Wenger.
"This showed that when the team is focused, we have a chance to win a league game. We want to go into each game with the same confidence and belief."
Victory in the traditional season curtain-raiser — which witnessed the first use of vanishing spray in English football — suggests Arsenal are in fine fettle ahead of their opening league fixture at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
In mitigation for City, manager Manuel Pellegrini could point to the absences of first-teamers such as captain Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, but his side's rustiness will be cause for concern ahead of their season opener at Newcastle United.