Emirates Stadium, London
Kick-Off 16.20 BST
Arsenal had no-one else but Manuel Almunia to thank as they were pushed all the way by Celtic with the goalkeeper producing a series of wonderful saves to help his side re-claim the Emirates Cup on Sunday.
Arsenal were fastest out of the traps when clever work from Jack Wilshire in the on the edge of the area fed in Theo Walcott on the right wing who delivered a low pass across goal for Carlos Vela to slot home into an open net after just 3 minutes.
The early pressure continued with Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and a speculative 30-yard effort from Thomas Vermaelen all forcing Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska into decent saves.
Celtic were not merely spectators though, with new signing Efrain Juarez finding himself in the Arsenal penalty area after 27 minutes, but the defender dragged his shot wide.
The Scottish outfit continued to up the pressure with Shaun Maloney first denied a goal scoring opportunity by a last-ditch tackle from Gael Clichy, followed by Charlie Mulgrew’s deflected freekick forcing a brilliant Manuel Almunia to punch away.
Despite this pressure, it was Arsenal who came close to scoring again though with Rosicky floating in a corner from the right to Wilshire who connected sublimely with a first-time volley on the edge of the year that had Zaluska beaten, but only the woodwork denied the 18-year-old from registering on the score sheet.
Arsenal ended up finishing the half as they started it though as another Rosicky corner this time found Bacary Sagna on the edge of the area and the Frenchman made no mistake to take the hosts into half-time leading 2-0.
Samir Nasri, along with Marouane Chamakh, came on for the second half and the midfielder wasted no time to making Celtic suffer further as he picked the ball up 30 yards out, played a simple one-two with Theo Walcott and coolly finished to put Arsenal 3-0 up and leave Celtic all but dead and buried with just 50 minutes played.
Second-half substitute Georgios Samaras had the chance to give Celtic a way back into the match after Wilshire dragged down Marc-Antoine Fortune but the Greek striker blazed the ball over the bar.
Fortunately Daryl Murphy came to the Scottish side’s rescue just minutes later when he took advantage of a deflected shot to bury the ball home past an otherwise outstanding Almunia from 10 yards out.
Suddenly Celtic started playing with more confidence and they closed the gap down to just one goal when a brilliant through ball from Samaras allowed Fortune to whip a low ball across the area for Ki Sung-Yueng to make it 3-2 with 7 minutes remaining.
But last season’s SPL runners-up ran out of time and the victory meant that Arsenal lifted the Emirates Cup for the third time in its four-year existence.
Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Bacary Sagna (Emmanuel Eboue, 61), Thomas Vermaelen (Laurent Koscielny, 74), Johan Djourou, Gael Clichy (Kieran Gibbs, 61), Emmanuel Frimpong, Tomas Rosicky (Samir Nasri, 45), Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Marouane Chamakh, 45), Carlos Vela (Andrey Arshavin, 61)
Celtic: Lukasz Zaluska (Dominic Cervi, 45), Andreas Hinkel (Cha Du-Ri, 61), Efrain Juarez, Jos Hooiveld, Shaun Maloney, Marc Crosas (Marc-Antoine Fortune, 61), Ki Sung-Yueng, Morten Rasmussen (Georgios Samaras, 61), Charlie Mulgrew (Filip Twardzik, 67), Thomas Rogne, Daryl Murphy (Gary Hooper, 86)