Arsenal stormed to a 5-1 win over Benfica in their opening game of the Emirates Cup on Saturday afternoon, with young Frenchman Yaya Sanogo bagging himself four goals in the rout. Arsenal fans also got to see their new man, Alexis Sanchez, in action for the last 15 minutes of the game.
Sanogo had found himself on the receiving end of some criticism after some of his performances last season, but showed real striking prowess in a game where Benfica offered very little of the same at the other end.
Arsenal started the game quickly and chances came thick and fast for the Gunners in the opening 20 minutes, but they couldn’t find the net. Sanogo then stepped his game up and by the 49th minute, he had his four goals. Joel Campbell also got on the score sheet in his first game in an Arsenal shirt.
Yaya Sanogo opened the scoring in the 26th minute, when Aaron Ramsey’s cross found him in the 6 yard box and he managed to turn it in through his legs to give Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal continued their onslaught and in the 39th minute, young Spaniard Hector Bellerin played a one-two with Sanogo on the right wing before picking out Joel Campbell at the back of a congested penalty area. Campbell readied himself and smashed the ball in to the bottom corner to make it 2-0 to the Gunners, claiming his first goal for Arsenal in the process.
After another good passing move from Arsenal in and around Benfica’s 18 yard box, Joel Campbell found himself with a golden opportunity to grab his second goal of the game, but knocked the ball wide of the goal.
Benfica struggled to keep up with Arsenal’s quick passing and after another wonderfully crafted move from Arsène Wenger’s men they found themselves 3-0 down by the 44th minute. Aaron Ramsey lifted a lovely ball over the defence, which found Campbell in acres of space. Campbell played a simple ball across to Sanogo who found himself with an open goal to knock the ball in to.
It only took another two minutes for Sanogo to strike again and grab himself a first half hat-trick. With the ball bouncing and the keeper closing in on him, he somehow managed to extend his leg and poke the ball past a hopeless Benfica Goalkeeper.
Half time arrived and Benfica were in need of a break and a chance to regroup after suffering a mauling in the first 45 minutes, but their day only got worse in the opening minutes of the second half.
In the 49th minute Aaron Ramsey shot across goal and the keeper could only parry it in to the path of Sanogo, who slotted it home and claimed his fourth goal of the game, rounding off a remarkable performance for the Frenchman.
The 77th minute saw Benfica pull a goal back when Nicolás Gaitán slotted the ball in to the Arsenal net, but the goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation on a miserable day for the Primeira Liga outfit.
Alexis Sanchez almost made an impact in the 15 minutes he was on the pitch when he found himself in space on the edge of the Benfica box in the 91st minute. The Chilean international pulled it back for Francis Coquelin, who’s shot rattled the post.
All in all it was a fantastic start to the Emirates cup for Arsenal and a huge confidence boost for the players and fans alike. Full time score: Arsenal 5-1 Benfica.