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Sunday, August 9, 1998 Published at 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK

Sport: Football

Awesome Arsenal show Premier intentions

Christopher Wreh scores Arsenal's second goal

Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United

The new English football season has begun as the last one finished, with a confident Arsenal win at Wembley.

The Gunners, who last played at the stadium in the FA Cup victory that secured them the Double, looked totally at home in the traditional curtain-raiser to the season.

[ image: United showed off new signing Jaap Stam]
United showed off new signing Jaap Stam
Wembley will be their home for European Champions League games and not even a Manchester United featuring Roy Keane and new signing Jaap Stam could spoil the house-warming.

Goals by Marc Overmars, Christopher Wreh and Nicolas Anelka completed a dominating performance that will confirm Arsenal as early favourites for the Premiership.

Among the 13 World Cup stars on show, the reception for David Beckham - sent off in England's World Cup defeat against Argentina - was the most closely watched.

He was booed by Arsenal fans who shouted "off, off, off", in a taste of what he can expect when the Premiership gets under way next Saturday.

Keane starts robustly

Roy Keane, returning to the United line-up after being sidelined for 11 months with a knee injury, was warned early in the game for some overly robust tackling.

It was Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal's Dutch World Cup star, who forced the first save of the game with a low, 25-metre drive that Peter Schmeichel clutched at the foot of the post.

But two minutes later the Danish goalkeeper was picking the ball out of the net when Bergkamp raced down the right and backheeled the ball in the penalty area.

With the United defence ball-watching, Anelka left the ball to Overmars who drove it powerfully into the roof of the net from just inside the area.

[ image: Christopher Wreh shows his acrobatic celebrations]
Christopher Wreh shows his acrobatic celebrations
The second goal came 12 minutes into the second half when Overmars pulled apart the United defence with a run down the left. Anelka helped the ball on to Wreh whose first shot was blocked by Schmeichel's boot.

The ball rebounded to the Arsenal substitute who was surrounded by United defenders but was able to roll into an empty net from 16 metres.

Arsenal hit the third with 19 minutes to go. Anelka held off a challenge from Dutch international defender Jaap Stam and fired the ball between Schmeichel and his near post.

United had few chances to hit back but Teddy Sheringham should have scored a consolation goal nine minutes from the end when he raced through, but he hit the ball well wide.

Bergkamp dismisses hamstring fears

Bergkamp left the game after 46 minutes with a tight hamstring but dismissed fears that it was anything serious.

He said: "In the end I had to come off. The hamstring is a bit tight, but that's normal. It really needed the work."

Bergkamp missed out on the Gunners' Double at the end of last season due to his hamstring problem.


Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira (Grimandi 84), Adams (Bould 79), Anelka, Bergkamp (Wreh 46), Overmars (Hughes 67), Keown, Parlour, Petit (Boa Morte 72).
Subs not used: Vivas, Manninger.
Booked: Keown.
Goals: Overmars 33, Wreh 56, Anelka 71.

Man Utd: Schmeichel, G. Neville, Irwin, Johnsen, Stam, Beckham, Butt (Solskjaer 53), Cole (Sheringham 70), Giggs (P. Neville 70), Keane (Berg 75), Scholes (Cruyff 70).
Subs not used: Culkin, May.
Booked: G. Neville, Irwin.

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