It's the weekend of the Emirates Cup again.
GoalDig was on hand to watch Arsenal score five past Benfica, while the Portuguese champions could only reply with one. We brought you what we learnt from that highly entertaining game.
1. Wenger sees Monreal as the new Vermalean
Arsene Wenger is no joker but he certainly has a funny ace up his sleeve.
He started Monreal as a center-back to partner new signing Calum Chambers. It was a similar move to the one he tried with Sagna last season but with the now departed Frenchman no longer available, he must believe Monreal can step in those shoes.
But alas, Monreal is no center-back.
He looked all over the place, picked a silly yellow card for a poor tackle and had no physical strength to substitute his lack of positional sense. If Wenger wants a versatile defender, Chambers is the man he should look towards.
2. Calum Chambers is the real deal
Chambers showed a calm composure well beyond is age. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, Wenger’s newest signing even covered a few times for full back Bellerin, who enjoyed a fantastic afternoon going forward.
He certainly has more than a bit part to play this season and Wenger must be confident he has capable legs to step in should injury beset his defence line.
3. Sanogo is not the new Nicolas Anelka
He is a far bigger threat. The gangling French boy did his reputation no harm by banging four goals against Benfica. His first srikes for Arsenal, and all a pure poacher’s effort.
The man-of-the-match performance from Yaya Sanogo may just be the sign of what to expect this season. He harried the Benfica defence well, got into goal scoring positions and should have scored more than four, really.
Sanogo is a frightening presence in the box, and he might just prove to be Arsenal’s support cast for Giroud.
4. Bellerin is ready
The midfielder cum fullback has bid his time with the reserves for several seasons. With the departures of Sagna and Jenkinson, albeit temporarily, this might just be the term when Bellerin cut his mark with the first team.
On the back of his fine display this afternoon, where he bagged an assist, Bellerin can stake a claim to become Debuchy’s deputy.
5. Campbell is going nowhere
Having spent three years on loan at different clubs in three different countries, Joel Campbell had his ultimate trial for Wenger against Benfica.
Joel passed the test in flying colours. He made an assist, had a hand in another and scored his side’s third goal.
A beautiful showing from a player who has obviously carried on his excellent World Cup form into the new season.
Campbell has a big Arsenal future. He can feature anywhere upfront, can create and score goals and is one exciting talent that Wenger would be mad to let go of.
6. A few other thoughts
Ramsey needs a new haircut. Or possibly, a new barber.
Benfica’s Gaitan will certainly not look awkward in an Arsenal jersey. He looked lively all day and deserved his goal, which happens to be Benfica’s only goal of the match.
Martinez is a fine third choice goalkeeper. He generally commanded his area well, handled the ball okay and his distribution was impressive.
Flamini is no longer the terrier he used to be. He was anonymous in midfield and the play passed him by most times.
Arsenal are getting close. Defensive reinforcements are in. Walcott will be back soon. In the meantime, Sanchez can bask in the limelight. Arsenal are quite frankly genuine title contenders.