Premier League round-up: Arsenal lack firepower in win over Manchester City
Arsenal possibly struck an early psychological blow to fellow top-four contenders Manchester City on Saturday when they scraped a largely unconvincing 3-1 win over Manchester City in a pre-season friendly played in Helsinki.
The Gunners were distinctly short of firepower upfront, and although the French striker Olivier Giroud got on the scoresheet, all the attacking initiative came from midfield and they could muster only four shots on target.
Big-spending City, on the other hand, appeared to have little appetite for the contest and after a bright start faded and failed to produce more than a single goal through recent recruit Alvaro Negrado 12 minutes from the end.
The first goal came in the ninth minute when Arsenal winger Theo Walcott glided on to an incisive through ball from Aaron Ramsey to chip the ball over a stranded Joe Hart in the City goal.
For all their running, Arsenal had no one to apply the finishing touch until Ramsey cut through a static defence on the hour, collected Walcott's pass and slotted past Hart with Vincent Kompany stranded on the line.
Minutes later, Giroud, a half-time substitute, made the most of a defensive mix-up between Hart and Kompany to nip in and applied a deft finish, delicately chipping home for the third.
After the match, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the club's website: "We had a good tactical discipline. I'm pleased with many aspects of our game, even if there are some points to work on.
"Overall it's positive tactically [and] attitude-wise. We scored goals, created chances and were always highly focused. That's good. Certainly it will lift our confidence.
"You have always to find a good balance between confidence and urgency level and I think we will because this team has a good attitude.
"We lose now the players who go on international duty and come back only on Thursday so it will be very short from Thursday to Saturday to prepare or our first game.
"We have big games in front of us because we play, of course, Aston Villa at home and then in the Champions League, so it's important that we don't lose players now."
Nicolas Anelka continued his fine pre-season form as he scored again for West Bromwich Albion – joined on the scoresheet by Markus Rosenberg – in a 2-0 win over Italian club Bologna.
Ravel Morrison scored after 16 seconds as West Ham United saw off Pacos de Ferreira 2-1 – the other goal coming from Modibo Maiga, while Crystal Palace lost 1-0 to Lazio.
Stoke City drew 0-0 with Genoa, while Jason Puncheon's late winner helped Southampton beat Real Sociedad by the odd goal in seven. Adam Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jos Hooiveld scored the Saints' others.
Christian Benteke netted twice – once from the spot – and Ron Vlaar got one as Aston Villa beat Malaga 3-2 while Fulham went down 2-1 to Parma, Steve Sidwell registering.
Elsewhere, Hull City looked good as they beat Real Betis 3-0 in Andy Dawson's testimonial.
Danny Graham, Sone Aluko and George Boyd got the goals.
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Updated: August 10, 2013 04:00 AM