1-0 Yaya Sanogo 26'
2-0 Joel Campbell 40'
3-0 Yaya Sanogo 45'
4-0 Yaya Sanogo 45'
5-0 Yaya Sanogo 49'
5-1 Nicolas Gaitan 61'
So, I'll admit I wasn't expecting that.
I've long been a supporter of Whoever People Are Complaining About This Week, and because of that I've sort of fallen into being a Yaya Sanogo fan. It's not hard, because he seems like a good kid and a hard worker who's been thrown in at the deep end far before he was ready. Not a lot of guys have Liverpool and Bayern Munich among their first five starts for a team, unless they're amazing. And Sanogo wasn't, really, but you could tell that he knew what he was doing. He just couldn't quite get the game he saw in his head to come out his feet.
Today, he did. Sanogo scored four goals of varying class, and was all-around one of the best players on the field. He combined very well with Joel Campbell, who also scored one and also played quite well, and with Aaron Ramsey. Instead of looking like the pupal form of a footballer, he looked like the butterfly that comes out. Well, at least the butterfly's first flight.
Also performing well were right-back Hector Bellerin, who has impressed all preseason, and new signing Calum Chambers, who played as a centerback. If Bellerin continues like this into the actual season, I expect him not only to remain the deputy to Mathieu Debuchy, but to get quite a lot of playing time. That's no slight on the Frenchman - Bellerin has been very, very good. Chambers looked calmer than I think I was at any moment when I was 19 years old, and made no mistakes that I saw. And in his post-game interview, he sounded thrilled by the concept of Being An Arsenal Player, which is always nice to see. If the pair end up landing at those positions, they could be here for a while.
Oh, and Alexis Sanchez played. He came on for the last fifteen minutes or so, and looked good. A little lacking in sharpness, and a little lacking in understanding with his teammates, but holy hell he's been in training literally for like a day, so I was really impressed by him. He might get a similar cameo tomorrow, but I doubt he'll play a huge role.
Overall, Arsenal looked amazing today. It's only a preseason game, but Benfica aren't a pushover. We'll see how the team reacts tomorrow against Monaco, where one expects some of the more senior (and more French) players will make appearances.