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The Highbury Library animted promo v5 350x350

Arsenal began life without Arsene Wenger and under Spanish successor Unai Emery with a 2-0 home defeat courtesy of reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in their season opener.

Goals in either half from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva at the Emirates ensured City, who won the league by a record margin racking up 100 points last term, consigned the Gunners to a third consecutive loss to Pep Guardiola's side across all competitions without scoring.

Emery blooded four of his five summer signings in the game - two from the start in Greece centre Sokratis Papastathopoulos and holding midfielder Matteo Guendouzi - and a couple more off the bench.

Switzerland captain and full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner was pressed into service down the left-hand side when Ashley Maitland-Niles picked up an injury and Uruguay international Lucas Torreira replaced Granit Xhaka in midfield with 20 minutes left.

The Betfair Exchange odds on Man City to win league 2019 have shortened slightly, while the Gunners are also as big as 50/1. A top-four finish (and a return to the Champions League), meanwhile, is out to 11/5.

City was about as tough an opening to the Emery era as possible, so the loss Arsenal suffered must be placed in that context. They remain leading fancies for the Europa League with all bookies, however, because of the new manager's superb track record in that continental competition when he was at Sevilla.

As part of a defence that conceded twice at home, Sokratis' Gunners bow could have gone better and it was interesting to see Emery select Petr Cech in goal as captain over new keeper Bernd Leno - a reported £19,000,00 summer arrival from Bundesliga boys Bayer Leverkusen.

France Under-20 international Guendouzi was pitched straight in at the deep end having never played top-flight football and after just 30 senior appearances at Lorient. Although initially a nervy display, the youngster grew in stature but it was a surprise to see the tenacious Torreira, who demonstrated his own qualities sitting in front of his country's defence at the World Cup finals, on the bench.

Lichsteiner, meanwhile, is a wily veteran with a decade of experience playing in Serie A under his belt first with Lazio and then Juventus before joining Arsenal on a free. Although signed to perhaps impart some of that defensive nous to Hector Bellerin - a similar type of attack-minded full-back - he could continue down the left side of the back four if Sead Kolasinac or Nacho Monreal do not return to match fitness.

Aaron Ramsey showed the most drive and vibrancy in midfield against City, while Mesut Ozil was nominally on the left wing until the Welshman was taken off for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went out wide. 

Things don't get much easier for Emery as he faces fellow Premier League newcomer Maurizio Sarri and London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next after their comprehensive 3-0 win at Huddersfield Town. The Gunners haven't won there since October 2011, so have there work cut out for them.

 

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more