10 August 2014 20:43
Arsene Wenger confirmed Mikel Arteta as Arsenal’s new captain after watching his side beat Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield.
Hours after the sale of former skipper Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona, Arsenal dispatched the Premier League champions at Wembley on Sunday as Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud found the net in an impressive performance.
Arteta featured alongside Jack Wilshere as the FA Cup holders dominated central midfield and Wenger named the former Everton player as his new captain, with Per Mertesacker to serve as vice-captain.
Wenger said: “One, Arteta and two, Mertesacker. Arteta will be captain and Mertesacker vice-captain.”
Mertesacker was absent against City due to an extended break after being part of Germany’s triumphant World Cup squad.
It opened the way for close-season signing Calum Chambers to partner Laurent Koscielny at centre-back and the 19-year-old produced as assured display, despite playing the majority of his senior football to date at right-back.
“For a 19-year-old he had an outstanding performance,” Wenger said. “The kind of performance he delivered is very promising.
“It’s impressive because he hasn’t got a long history in this position because he was a right-back and I think if all goes well he has a good career in front of him.
“He can challenge both centre-backs and that’s what you want. You cannot play with two centre-backs the whole season; that means he will play.”
At the other end of the field, an Arsenal attack featuring showpiece new signing Alexis Sanchez caused City no end of problems and Wenger is pleased with the talent at his disposal for the new campaign.
“I have more attacking options than I had for a long time – that’s for sure,” he said.
“Three, four, five years ago, every year we lost a big player. In the last two years, we added players like [Mesut] Ozil and this season like Alexis so of course that strengthens the squad.
“I am, of course, very ambitious but I’m a bit cautious because I have quite a good experience. I look around and see the other teams have strengthened as well so it will be interesting to watch the Premier League because it looks like all the big teams will be very strong.”
Arsenal’s title bid last term was undermined by heavy defeats at the hands of fellow Premier League heavyweights.
“That’s why it was important for us not to lose the game,” Wenger added.
“On that front we know that last year we were very consistent against the teams outside the top six and not consistent against the top six teams.
“The year before it was reversed so let’s hope that this year it will be right on both sides.”