Robin van Persie produced a moment of brilliance yesterday to fire Arsenal to victory over Internazionale to win the Emirates Cup.
The Gunners showed plenty of spirit and glimpses of the quality they will need in this season's title race during an entertaining encounter with the Italian champions. Just when the match seemed to be heading towards a draw, Van Persie - out since breaking a metatarsal in January - smashed home a winner following superb close control in the six-yard box.
As expected, Arsene Wenger made several changes from the starting team for Saturday's victory over Paris St-Germain. The centre-back William Gallas was named captain ahead of Kolo Toure, and there was a first-team debut for the teenage winger Kieran Gibbs.
The summer signing Eduardo da Silva still awaits an appeal to the Home Office for a work permit.
Inter, who were very disappointing against Valencia on Saturday, also rotated several of their players but offered little threat in the opening exchanges. Van Persie looked lively in attack for the Gunners, ably supported by Alexander Hleb.
On 20 minutes, a clever step-over from Hleb created a shooting chance just outside the box for Van Persie but Julio Cesar forced away his low effort. The former Everton defender Marco Materazzi was then cautioned for a late challenge on Emmanuel Eboue as the Arsenal defender, playing on the wing, surged down the right flank.
From the resulting free-kick, a yard outside the area, Van Persie forced a good reaction save from Cesar at his near post.
Mathieu Flamini - who was on target against PSG - made the Inter keeper work again to stop his low 20-yard strike and the summer signing Bacary Sagna saw his angled shot saved.
Wenger kept the same side for the second half, with Eboue again dangerous down the right. …