Manchester City began their defence of the Premier League title with a 0-2 victory against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
Goals in either half from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva saw City defeat an Arsenal side who look to be still finding their feet under new manager Unai Emery.
Let’s take a look at five things we learned as City began their season with a win.
1) City Are Continuing This Season Where They Left Off The Last
Arsenal had a couple of good chances in the game and will likely improve under Unai Emery as the season progresses but here they were truly outclassed by a far superior Manchester City side.
Fluid in attack, crisp with their passing and strong in the middle of the park City were quite simply a step above Arsenal as they began the defence of their title in stylish fashion.
In truth, City could have had a couple more goals in the game and the fact that Guardiola’s side won so comfortably without the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane starting is a worrying sign for the rest of the teams in the league.
The early signs are that City are showing no indication that they intend on taking their foot off the gas this season.
2) Matteo Guendouzi Could Have A Bright Future At Arsenal
After an impressive pre-season, Unai Emery handed 19-year-old French starlet Matteo Guendouzi his Premier League debut in one of the toughest games his Arsenal side will play all season.
Guendouzi started slowly in the first half and could probably have done more to close down Raheem Sterling for his goal but crucially the young midfielder grew into the game in the second period and never shied away from receiving the ball, the occasion clearly not getting the better of him.
The former Lorient man proved an industrious figure at the heart of the Arsenal midfield and seemed confident in possession and passing up against the league’s best. Guendouzi could end up being a player to watch this season.
3) There Were Signs Of Promise, But Emery Still Has Plenty Of Work To Do
Going into this game it’s unlikely that Arsenal fans will have looked at it as one where their team could potentially grab three points.
Emery’s side were outplayed and outclassed by a City team who will once again be favourites to retain their Premier League crown. But there were signs of promise.
As mentioned, Guendouzi looks like an exciting young player and Aubameyang will benefit hugely from a full pre-season at the club, while Lacazette looked very sharp when he entered the field of play in the second half.
It’s clear that Arsenal are a work in progress and it should be expected that the transition in the club’s management and style of play will take time, but Emery can certainly take small positives from this opening weekend defeat.
4) Riyad Mahrez Fits This Manchester City Side Perfectly
Fit-again and reaping the benefits of World Cup stars being rested, Riyad Mahrez was handed his first start at the Emirates by Pep Guardiola.
Mahrez was lively and energetic in possession and showed a strong work rate which will be vital if he wants to solidify himself in the City starting eleven.
The Algerian could’ve got himself on the scoresheet but he was unlucky to see his shot from the right whistle past Cech’s far post.
It was always going to be intriguing to see how Mahrez fit into this Manchester City side and if he could step up from a top 8 side in Leicester City to a world-class side in the Premier League champions, but if today’s game is anything to go by it should be a seamless transition for the Algerian.
5) The World Cup Run Has Improved John Stones’ Overall Game
One of the stand-out players at the Emirates, City defender John Stones was a commanding presence at the heart of the defence alongside Aymeric Laporte.
Stones had a solid season last year but suffered from a couple of injuries which hampered his game. Against Arsenal, however, he looked full of confidence as he dominated battles with Aubameyang who many feel will have an impressive goalscoring season.
Buoyed by a strong showing at the World Cup in Russia this could be the season where Stones cements himself as one of, if not, the best defender in the Premier League.
If he can stay fit and continue feeding off that World Cup momentum then he could be in for a huge campaign at the core of that City defence.