Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Arsenal v Manchester City

Aaron Ramsey Aaron Ramsey has worn the captain's armband on several occasions under Unai Emery in pre-season
Charles Bowen | 12 August, 2018, 23:15

"Arsene is more about leaving the freedom to the players to decide how they want to do the actions, how they feel in that moment", said Cech.

Picking up where they left off last term, City had too much class for Arsenal and easily repelled the hosts' few unsafe moments. Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and a Silva - either David or Bernardo - is a familiar trio for the away side. What a start to his and City's season.

Another new signing, Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus, had to replace full back Ainsley Maitland-Niles before the interval and in the second half Uruguayan Lucas Torreira, who is expected to become an important defensive midfielder, also came on.

Anyway, without further ramblings, how did the players do in this match? 19-year-old Metteo Guendouzi was provided his first competitive start following his summer move from Ligue 2 side Lorient and the youngster seemed confident, happy to drop deep and regularly provide a passing option to his defenders. Petr Cech made some fine saves but he looked deeply uncomfortable with Emery's emphasis on building from the back, repeatedly landing his team-mates in trouble and at one point nearly passing the ball into his own net. The centre-back pairing, consisting of John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Vincent Kompany or Nicolas Otamendi is likely to have a tough afternoon ahead.

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. He nearly delivered with his first touch, but his volley flashed wide of the upright.

More news: Emery in spotlight as Arsenal begin life without Wenger

When asked if City had fashioned a flawless performance, Guardiolan told the BBC's Match Of The Day: "Yes". Just moments after Sergio Aguero had an effort saved when through on goal, they added a second. Benjamin Mendy advanced down the left and squared for Bernardo Silva who thumped the ball into the top corner.

"We wanted to show our performance but it is clear against Manchester City we could not give them this win".

Guardiola said the World Cup victor has space to improve on and off the pitch.

But on the evidence of this game, City look ready to break that trend. Every club in the Premier League will be taking their best shot against City this season, but, if it's even possible, they are more stacked than they were last season.

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