Sanogo scores four as youngsters impress in Emirates Cup

Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

Arsenal cruised to an emphatic 5-1 victory over Benfica on Day One of the Emirates Cup in a game that carried many positives for some of the club’s youngsters.

Yaya Sanogo, incredibly, scored four goals, with Hector Bellerin and Joel Campbell amongst those who assisted the Frenchman. Campbell, who was making his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt after three years out on loan, found the net himself, whilst substitutes Ignasi Miquel and Francis Coquelin struck the woodwork late on.

Goalkeeper Damian Martinez was disappointed to concede a goal to Nicolas Gaitan, but otherwise the Argentinian goalkeeper was largely impressive as he looks to finally earn promotion to the senior squad. Bellerin, meanwhile, certainly caught the eye in an attacking sense, and, with Calum Chambers deployed at centre-back, the former Barcelona player could still be elevated to the position of second-choice right-back for the new campaign.

Chambers forged an unorthodox central-defensive partnership with Nacho Monreal, and, although the youngster was not posed too many problems on his Arsenal debut, he still made some good tackles and clearances. On a day brimming with positives for Arsenal one of the most noteworthy moments was the introduction of Alexis Sanchez late on.

Miquel and Chuba Akpom also received late run-outs, with the latter especially determined to make an impact. Isaac Hayden and Gedion Zelalem were left out of the squad today, but the pair could feature against Monaco tomorrow, with Arsene Wenger likely to name an almost entirely different starting line-up to the one he fielded this afternoon.

Sanogo, who was deeply unconvincing at times last season, certainly seemed in confident mood here, although the Frenchman’s joy may be dampened a little by the injury he sustained in the second-half that forced his withdrawal. It was undoubtedly his most impressive showing since joining the club, however, as he demonstrated a previously unseen calm demeanour in front of goal.

With Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky in control and Campbell and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain supplying pace out wide, Benfica were overwhelmed early on. Sanogo opened the scoring after good work from Ramsey, and the striker soon doubled his tally after latching onto Bellerin’s cut-back.

Campbell, who had waited so long for this moment, then made it 3-0 with a fine strike before Sanogo completed his hat-trick before the break after he was found by Kieran Gibbs. Sanogo then added another after the break, rendering Gaitan’s effort as the merest of consolations.

This was an excellent workout for Arsenal, certainly in comparison to the frustrating friendly in New York last week. Martinez, Bellerin, Campbell and Sanogo all enhanced their reputations, although it is hugely important not to draw too many conclusions from a pre-season fixture.

Tomorrow’s game against Monaco should be a more challenging affair, with Sanchez, Wojciech Szczesny, Mathieu Debuchy, Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla amongst those likely to start.

This, though, was a very memorable day for some of the club’s younger players.




  1. I was a bit disappointed of Campbell but Sanogo and Bellerin looks incredible. campbell was still good though. Coquelin on the other hand… he looks very out of depth. He clearly isn’t good enough for the first team. hope we sell him and cash in. Chambers looks amazing too. I had no idea he could play CB. He probably can do a good job as DM too if needed but will probably cover CB and RB spot often. Bellerin should be kept in the team. Looks really really really good. WOW! But only if we can’t get a top class CB for Vermaelen.

    1. How long did coquelin play? In a game that was Already done n dusted. I would rather draw conclusions far further down the line about our youngsters. I have never seen coquelin have a mare. He has always been steady and consistent. Sure he isn’t Ramsey, but then again he is no Santos.

      1. I have seen more than one game of Coquelin and he isn’t that good. Consistency is what makes him bad. He didn’t know what to do with the ball when he got it in many occasions. He certainly got enough time to show something but didn’t. Just a reminder to you. He was NOT a regular for Freiburg and spent more time on the bench than on the pitch. Also he is a Santos because he isn’t even playing on the highest level consistently. I can only see one thing, and that is to cash in. Get a quality DM instead.

    2. I strongly disagree with Coquelin. I thought that out of all three midfielders of the second half, he played the best. Arteta had a shocker. Wilshere was doing his own wilshere’s thing without any end product. Coquelin may not be in the same class than Ramsey, but clearly he has learned from him. Keep it simple and if possible, follow the play toward goal. He nearly bagged himself a very good goal. Unlucky to hit the post with the keeper beaten.
      Coquelin movement was all about covering for the wreck that Arteta was. I don’t know what was wrong with Arteta, but on Saturday he lost an incredible number of balls in a very short amount of time. It looked like he was not fit and half a yard slower than everybody else.

      I know that a lot of people were enthused with Bellerin on Saturday, but I was not one of them. He was brilliant going forward. His interception when they come up are great weapons to attack, however defensively he got find out numerous time. Wrong position, wrong body position. Against a more ruthless opponent, we could have conceded a couple of goals from his side.

      On the other hand Callum Chambers impressed me. Decisive in his intervention, clean in the tackle, Calm in possession with a much better distribution than I expected. Even his long ball were good. None of that hoof the ball aimlessly, but pass the ball in space for a teammate to run to or pinpoint to Sanogo’s chest.

      Miquel was also good. It looks like he is ready to step up. He is not an organiser, but with the right partner he could be a valuable backup player. Maybe the arrival of. Chambers has been the kick necessary to wake him up and force him to impose himself on a football pitch.

  2. Matinez was blameless today. Bellerin was good today but was tortured earlier on by Ola John. He needs to work on his defensive game. Coquelin didn’t have enough time to really impress but almost scored, hopefully tomorrow he’d get enough game time to get assessed properly. Chambers was wonderful. Campbeeell…hmmm…okay. Sanogo suprised me. Great game, great performances.

  3. On yesterday’s performance one can see Bellerin is sharp in attack, but am not convinced he is going to be a better defender than Jenkinson and certainly at the moment is really not even at Jenkinson’s level, plus gives up a lot of size. You could not play Bellerin right now in a Premiership game that you needed to win, not even vs a mid table team like Stoke or West Brom – he would get eaten alive.

  4. Wenger needs to convert Bellerin as a winger/forward. Lad is wasted in defense…he’d be a superstar if moved forward.

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