Pitchside Europe

Report Card: Arsenal v Man City – How did the new signings get on?

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During Arsenal's impressive 3-0 win over Manchester City, five new signings made their debuts. Three for the Gunners, two for the Citizens. In addition, they each brought on an additional new face from the bench (well, kinda, in Joel Campbell's case).

How did they get on? Did they begin their new chapters the way they wanted? What are the omens for the coming season?

Here's our first appraisal of the new boys. Though of course there's plenty still to be written, you know what they say about the importance of first impressions...

[REPORT: ARSENAL 3-0 MANCHESTER CITY]

[7 TRUTHS: GOOD OMENS FOR GUNNERS, BAD OMENS FOR CHAMPS]

[OVERREACTION THEATRE: WHEN IS A TROPHY REALLY A TROPHY]

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Mathieu Debuchy, Arsenal

Position: Right-back

Minutes: 90 (plus stoppage time)

Rating: 8/10

Report: Far from the most concerning Arsenal summer signing after establishing himself as a Premier League-quality right-back at Newcastle, Debuchy wasn’t quite as dynamic on the overlap as his opposite flanker Kieran Gibbs this time around, but put in his first consummate performance in an Arsenal shirt, which will go some way towards easing the pain of losing Bacary Sagna to – yep – Man City. He also played a big part in the clean sheet, helping to cover for an unseasoned centre-back pairing of Koscielny and Chambers, and then Chambers and Monreal.

Calum Chambers, Arsenal

Position: Centre-back

Minutes: 90 (plus stoppage time)

Rating: 8/10

Report: On two occasions, the Southampton graduate cut out potential one-on-one opportunities for City with the scoreline still competitive. Arsene Wenger has had his faith in teenage talents dented by the fact that many he has thrust into the spotlight have simply not been ready. The man pushed out on loan due to Chambers’ arrival, Carl Jenkinson, is a very recent example. And yet, while most Arsenal fans will hope for some extra steel to arrive at the back in the wake of skipper Thomas Vermaelen’s exit, Chambers looks more than up for the task whether at right-back or in the heart of defence. Here’s hoping for his sake that his mature showings continue.

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Position: Wide-forward

Minutes: 45

Rating: 7/10

Report: While not a stand-out on his competitive (sorta) debut, Sanchez looked right at home in a hungry and attacking Arsenal line-up and was one of those responsible for much of their first-half play resembling the Gunners of old. That the likes of Ramsey, Cazorla and Ozil can also chime in with performances in roles similar to Sanchez will give the Chilean ample time to slot in and provide much-needed rotational respite if he goes on to suffer a drop in form as Ozil did last season.

Willy Caballero, Man City

Position: Goalkeeper

Minutes: 90 (plus stoppage time)

Rating: 6/10

Report: A very unfortunate debut for the ex-Malaga stopper, who actually made several great saves and well-timed catches in a performance which will nonetheless be remembered instead as ‘the one where Arsenal knocked three past him with relative ease’ or ‘the one where Joe Hart didn’t look so bad, after all’. One expected Hart to remain the de facto first-choice keeper for the start of the league campaign even before today, but this did Willy’s hopes of usurping the inconsistent England international any time before Christmas no good at all.

Fernando, Man City

Position: Central midfield

Minutes: 90 (plus stoppage time)

Rating: 4/10

Report: It seems that, with the signings of Porto enforcer Fernando and Racing Club prospect Bruno Zuculini, Manuel Pellegrini sought extra mustard in the middle of the park – especially if Yaya Toure moves on any time soon. However, we’re not fully convinced Fernando actually did make his debut at Wembley, as advertised on the team-sheet. Outside of one decent tackle and a couple of scuffed half-chances at the other end, we could hardly see him in a blurry sea of red shirts. That was exactly the sort of thing Fernando will be expected to cut out from deep in midfield when the Premier League gets underway next weekend. At least he still has a week to prepare…

And, blink and you’ll miss them, each side had one other debutant come on for a cup of coffee from the substitutes’ bench…

Bruno Zuculini (sub 60’) – His arrival was of course too little, too late – and the young Argentine moved around the pitch very gingerly, indicating a lack of full fitness or a minor niggle – but despite that, his movement and enthusiasm were encouraging. Could be a handy squad player, especially in the Champions League group stages.

Joel Campbell (sub 86’) – The Costa Rica forward has finally arrived as an actual Arsenal player after years of loan moves to develop his game, but he was brought on too late to do anything this time around. However, the story is surely that he is in Wenger’s first-team squad plans at all, which is progress nonetheless. He should, too, feature more as the season gets busier.

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