Champions City are impressive winners at Arsenal

Lewis Collier
August 13, 2018

If he does start, Manchester City must be licking their lips with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling both looking to target the stand-in full-back.

While others bemoaned their lack of signings and questioned their club hierarchy's pre-season preparations, most notably Guardiola's nemesis in the red half of Manchester Jose Mourinho, the Catalan had nothing but praise for his squad and his employers, saying: "I can not complain for one minute".

Arsenal, meanwhile, lacked sharpness in the final third and rarely managed to maintain possession, with Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to impact the game while playing out wide in a 4-3-3 system.

Unai Emery might have found an intriguing solution to Arsenal's left-back problem, with Danny Welbeck having impressed there in training. But he knows and his agent knows we like him and want him a lot.

"Today is the first step". The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: "We need to protect the goalkeepers". Although it's obvious he wants Arsenal to play the ball out from the back, one wonders if a more direct approach might have enabled them to bypass City's midfield. "The team, for 90 minutes, they ran, they tried, they pushed, but we need to improve all collective and individual aspects", Emery told reporters at his post-match press conference. In terms of preventing a City rout, the introduction of summer signing Stephan Lichtsteiner brought combativeness and intelligence that had been missing during the visitors' best period of the game.

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Installed as heavy favourites to finish top again - which would make them the first team to defend the title since Manchester United in 2008-09 - City's ruthless performance was ominous for their rivals. He did just that in the first half with this opening goal, which proved to be the victor.

Emery's side continued with their pressing approach and nearly forced an equaliser as Hector Bellerin cut inside and tested Ederson with a drilled effort. "Also, Leno is starting with us. He played also good in the preseason, but he can wait for his moment to arrive".

"Emery has had longer with his team than anyone else - they've largely all been together for the whole of pre-season - and they could potentially cause an upset against City on day one".

Emery was unable to shed any light on an injury to Ainsley Maitland-Niles - who was replaced in the first half - and hopes Nacho Monreal can return to training to give him an option at left-back.

"Each match is different", he said.

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