Manchester City got their title defence off to the perfect start as they beat Arsenal 2-0 in Unai Emery’s first Premier League game on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva were enough for Pep Guardiola’s men to claim victory at the Emirates Stadium as they outclassed the Gunners on home soil.
Competitive start at the Emirates
The match started at an extremely high tempo with both teams clearly not scared to attack. Aaron Ramsey had the first opportunity of the game as he latched onto Sokratis’ header but his volley found its way comfortably into the arms of Ederson.
The champions were soon on the front-foot though as Sergio Aguero’s excellent pass found its way to Sterling. The England winger jinked his way past Shkodran Mustafi but Petr Čech held firm.
Sterling scythes through to score
The former Liverpool winger was soon involved in the Citizens’ opener. After scoring 18 Premier League goals last campaign, he got the current season off to the best possible start as he picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area and came inside onto his right foot. He then thumped an excellent shot into the bottom corner to seize the lead for the visitors.
Hector Bellerin then had the opportunity to equalise as he managed to get past Benjamin Mendy but he could not beat Ederson. Čech also had a nervous moment at the other end of the park as he somehow almost passed the ball into his own net whilst playing out from the back but the Gunners all collectively breathed a sigh of relief as it trundled just inches past the post.
Injury problems for the Gunners
The former Chelsea goalkeeper was at his best mid-way through the first-half to keep Emery’s men in the game. He brilliantly kept Mahrez’s free-kick out before denying Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up.
The Gunners were given a blow just before the break as Ainsley Maintland-Niles had to be withdrawn through injury. As a result, Stephan Lichtsteiner made his Premier League debut following his move from Juventus.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have done better only minutes before half-time as he expertly controlled Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s pass but his powerful shot flew wide of the post.
Gunners push for equaliser but City turn on the style
Emery introduced Alexandre Lacazette minutes after the break and it immediately gave the hosts more impetus. The Frenchman did well to find space on the edge of the area but his half-volley bounced just wide of the post.
Aguero was guilty of spurning the best opportunity of the game as he tore down unchallenged on the Arsenal goal following Mattéo Guendouzi’s poor clearance. He looked sure to score but could not beat Čech from only yards out.
The lead was eventually doubled mid-way through the second-period as Mendy picked out Bernardo Silva with a great cut-back. In acres of room, the Portuguese cannoned the ball into top corner from the centre of the penalty area at the first time of asking with a sweeping finish.
Arsenal strikes ruled out as City secure victory
Aubameyang looked as though he had earned the North-Londoners a foot-hold in the game as he lifted Lucas Torreira’s pass over Ederson but the striker was flagged offside.
The Brazilian goalkeeper almost gifted Arsenal a consolation as his poor pass could only find Özil. The German midfielder attempted to find Lacazette but the striker was not wise to his effort and the Manchester City man collected again. Özil did eventually have the ball in the net but once again he was flagged marginally offside following a through-ball from Aubameyang.
Their final chance was from more sloppy play from the champions. Mkhitaryan latched onto another poor kick from Ederson and cleverly picked out Lacazette but the Frenchman sent his effort high over the crossbar. As a result, the Citizens secured a relatively comfortable victory.
Despite all of the change at Arsenal in the summer months, the new era at the Emirates appears to have resumed where the last left off. The Gunners were far behind Manchester City, who if they were more clinical, could have scored more. On the transition, City were impressive. Their defence was also strong as well, a huge reason as to why they were able to silence the Gunners.
Emery’s men will attempt to get their first win of the season against Chelsea next Saturday. Meanwhile, Manchester City do battle with Huddersfield Town.
Arsenal: Čech (6); Bellerin (6), Mustafi (5), Papastathopoulos (6), Maitland-Niles (6) (Lichtsteiner (6), 35′); Guendouzi (6), Xhaka (6) (Torreira (6), 70′), Mkhitaryan (5), Ramsey (6) (Lacazette (6), 54′), Özil (5); Aubameyang (5).
Manchester City: Ederson (6); Walker (7), Laporte (6), Stones (7), Mendy (7); Gündoğan (7), Fernandinho (7); Mahrez (6) (De Bruyne (6), 59′), B. Silva (8), Sterling (7) (Sane (N/A), 87′); Aguero (6) (Jesus (N/A), 79′).
Goals: Sterling (14′), B. Silva (64′)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Sterling (4′), Sokratis (27′), Xhaka (52′), De Bruyne (73′)
Red Cards: N/A
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