Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Champions City Down Gunners

Strikes from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva helped ​Manchester City to start the defence of their Premier League title with a victory at ​Arsenal. 

The Citizens assumed control early with Sterling having the freedom to strike past Cech. Despite a more combative second half from the hosts, it wasn’t enough to prevent an opening day defeat for Unai Emery.

Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


ARSENAL

Key Talking Point

So much of the discussion surrounding Emery’s appointment was the addition of a firmer spine to the Gunners which had been severely lacking under Wenger.

Sadly for Arsenal fans, this wasn’t present in their season opener. Trying to go toe-to-toe with the Champions was always going to end in tears. Youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles had a harrowing afternoon as City exploited space out wide, which Arsenal failed to cover.

A slow back two of Mustafi and Sokratis looks easy to get at, which will bring concern to Gunners fans.

Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League

City also exposed the holes within Arsenal’s central midfield, which led to countless attacks and caused Petr Cech to be called into action on several occasions. This must be rectified if Arsenal have any ambitions of reclaiming a top four spot.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Cech(8), Bellerin(4), Mustafi(4), Sokratis(5), Matitland-Niles(3), Guendouzi(5), Xhaka (2), Ramsey(7), Ozil(6), Mkhitaryan(5), Aubameyang (4)

Substitutes: Lichtsteiner (6), Lacazette (7), Torreira (5) 


STAR MAN – On a forgettable afternoon for the Gunners, Arsenal had very few players to fully hit their stride. 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. 





WORST PLAYER – The departure of Arsene Wenger should’ve brought a fresh start to some players who had struggled under their old boss. For Granit Xhaka, this wasn’t the case.

Looking completely lost in midfield and falling to track the run of Bernardo Silva for the second goal, the Swiss international continues to look like a player with little direction.

Mkhitaryan also faded, which worryingly was a trend he had in high profile games with Manchester United.


MANCHESTER CITY

Key Talking Point

Pep Guardiola’s Champions sent another chilling message to the rest of the Premier League that their threat of continued dominance won’t be shifted easily. 

Purring from the early periods, City picked up from last season’s success by disposing of a top six rival on the opening weekend. What’s truly frightening for the rest of the league is that some of the Champions’ best players didn’t start. 

Arsenal v Manchester City - Premier League

Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus all came off the bench to supplement City’s victory without starring heavily. 

And the best thing for Guardiola is, this wasn’t even the Champions at their best. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ederson (4), Walker (7), Stones(7), Laporte (6), Mendy (6), Fernandinho (6), Gündogan (6), Bernardo Silva (8), Mahrez (7), Sterling (8), Aguero (6) 

Substitutes: De Bruyne (6), Gabriel Jesus (6), Sane (N/A)

STAR MAN –  The face of much scrutiny off the pitch this summer, Raheem Sterling silenced all of his critics with an accomplished display to solidify his place in the starting eleven. 

His direct runs and precise finish will please his manager, as the winger looks to cool down any chatter of a premature exit after the signing of Riyad Mahrez.

Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, and Benjamin Mendy all shined on opening day too. 



WORST PLAYER – There weren’t many poor performers for Manchester City, but goalkeeper Ederson nearly cost his side dearly with his distribution out from the back. Gifting the ball to Arsenal late in the second half could have allowed the Gunners back into the game.

Arsenal’s lack of cutting edge let Ederson off the hook on a shaky day which for him, will quickly be forgotten. 


Looking Ahead

Arsenal will have little respite to this result. They face another difficult match away at London rivals Chelsea next weekend. Not many teams are at City’s level but Chelsea will be looking to inflict more damage on a wounded Arsenal side. 

Manchester City welcome Huddersfield to the Etihad, one of the only sides to pick up a point at City last year which the ferocious attacking outfit will look to soon rectify. 

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