After years of frugality, Arsène Wenger has navigated Arsenal into the same slipstream as Manchester City and the Community Shield provided his side with an early opportunity to prove their new credentials. Silverware and spending have contributed to a buoyant summer in which they have outspent City by £49.6 million and as he begins the final chapter of his Arsenal tome, Wenger's nouveaux riches are ostensibly his best chance of toppling the Premier League champions.
Alexis Sánchez, Calum Cahmbers and Mathieu Debuchy all started while City gave debuts to goalkeeper Willy Caballero and midfielder Fernnado, yet it was the men Wenger identified as his eventual talismen six years ago who helped settle this one-sided of Premier League curtain-raisers.
Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, still just 22 and 23, out-thought a City midfield pining for a return to the beach. They have both had their setbacks, sometimes through their own behaviour in Wilshere's case, and three months on from combining to end Arsenal's trophy drought on the same turf they emerged as the fulcrum of this new Gunners team.
Bright and slick, the British midfielders' telepathy was unrivalled. However inconsequential an occasion the Community Shield is, the occasion re-emphasised the importance of Arsenal's Brit pack signing long-term contracts last year. Kieran Gibbs, under-appreciated due to his compatriot competitors for the left-back England slot, was another homegrown product who excelled in the Wembley sunshine.
City will doubtless dismiss this as an aberration. Chaos with the trains hardly fuelled enthusiasm amongst their supporters, comfortably outnumbered by their north London counterparts, and Manuel Pellegrini's experimental line-up - especially the back five - will almost certainly never start a match together again.
Joe Hart's autumn demotion and Costel Pantilimon's release signalled Manuel Pellegrini's desire to sign a goalkeeper that would compete with, rather than merely support, the England international. Caballero turns 33 next month and it showed at Wembley. When broadcasters switched to Hart on the substitutes' bench, he looked carefree and relaxed.
Even with the oft-derided Yaya Sanogo up front, Arsenal relished facing this City defence. Dedryck Boyata, whose existence at Eastlands was only prolonged on the basis he is a homegrown product, partnered Matija Nastasić with former Arsenal left-back Gäel Clichy switched to the right, which must have humiliated Micah Richards on the bench.
Caballero was noticeably slow when conceding Santi Cazorla's 21st minute opener. Boyata was recklessly lured in, Ramsey shifted the ball to the Spaniard, who ridiculed Clichy with his right foot before firing low into the corner with his left. Sánchez's arrival has plunged the Spaniard's future into doubt however he highlighted just why he is a superior forward option than the injured Theo Walcott and, depending on the weather, Mesut Özil.
Sánchez was quiet on the right of an attacking triumvirate but had a sample of the treatment that awaits him when his attempt to lead a counter-attack was cynically ended in the middle third. It was on the left, though, where Arsenal were clicking. Gibbs had already had a goalbound shot blocked and with Ramsey and Wilshere attracted to the byline, they combined for a memorable move which deserved better than Sanogo's shanked finish.
Yaya Touré was so cumbersome he looked like he had finally had his cake and eaten it, as Fernando was given the thankless task of containing Arsenal's marauding midfielders. Mikel Arteta, officially Arsenal's captain now Thomas Vermaelen has joined Barcelona, remains a liability. Arteta has always possessed a crude streak, and his merciless hack on Edin Džeko in the 36th minute was a reminder that his presence in the starting XI is a necessary evil. Wenger might have to hasten the search for that long-awaited defensive midfielder.
With Clichy blunt on the right, City targeted Debuchy and Chambers without creating any major openings in the first period. In the 41st minute, Džeko outpaced a defender for possibly the first time in England when he roared past the overawed Chambers as Debuchy went walkabout, which would become a recurring theme.
Ramsey remains one of the most potent goal-getters from midfield in the country. The alacrity he showed to support Sanogo was not matched by a man in blue, and when the Frenchman laid off the ball Ramsey showed composure and ruthlessness to steer it past Caballero, aided by Clichy’s feeble presence. Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna were watching on, yet even Martín Demichelis would have been welcomed at the back.
Caballero reacted well to keep the contest alive after he dashed off his line to challenge Sánchez, invited through one-on-one by the dozy Nastasić. "Nasri, Nasri, what's the score?" Arsenal fans crowed at the half-time shrill. Nasri did not emerge for the second-half.
At 6ft, Chambers is a strapping figure, and a physical one, too, judging by the blow he dealt to Stevan Jovetić's head seconds after the pause. That Chambers was partnered by Nacho Monreal for the second-half would appear to indicate he will start for Wenger when Arsenal's competitive campaign begins with the visit of Crystal Palace, with Per Mertesacker arriving back at London Colney on Monday.
Fernando's forgettable afternoon included a yellow card for tugging back Wilshere and a needless remonstration with the referee. Jovetić's first season at City was so ravaged by injuries it feels like a new beginning for him, too, however he could not maintain his prolific pre-season form with a far-post header that bounced onto the upright from Jesús Navas' cross. Wojciech Szczęsny saved well from the Montenegrin moments later as Debuchy shirked his responsibility again and allowed Aleksandar Kolarov to cross.
Sánchez's arrival should extend Olivier Giroud's stay at Arsenal, and the Frenchman ended the contest with a wonderful strike from 25 yards that looped over Caballero. Just like Manchester United fans when they were 3-0 up at the Etihad Stadium in 2012, Arsenal fans did City's adopted Poznań celebration and revelled in the schadenfreude.
Debuchy finally got close to Kolarov with a clattering tackle that reverberated around the stadium. It was as much a statement as the result that, even in a friendly, Arsenal will not be bullied anymore.