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Arsenal's reality check

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Man City's Raheem Sterling (right) being pursued by Gunner Hector Bellerin

ARSENAL BEGAN the Unai Emery era with a loss which will no doubt dent the Gunners' confidence, but at least their new manager will be heartened with some aspect of his side's game. When first up you face last season's runaway Premier League winners who elected to keep Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne of the bench, and only succumb to a two goal reverse despite the visitors overwhelming dominance of the game, then at the very least, you have a platform to build up from.

Two goals either side of the break from Raheem Sterling and Bernado Silva sunk the Gunners who rarely threatened Ederson's goal. Only a Hector Bellerin first half pile driver worried the Brazilian, with the City stopper's own loose pass out almost costing his side, until substitute Alexandre Lacazette could only sky his shot after some good play from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Matteo Guendouzi enjoyed a mixed afternoon on his debut, the 19 year old has the talent to go far, but his game know how will need much improvement if he is the Gunners go to guy.

City's level on the opening day of the new season will be worrying for the rest of the Premier League, more so because Pep Guardiola later revealed that his team will just get better. His hugging of his assistant Mikel Arteta after City's second goal tells of a happy club who know they can overcome any opposition.

"We have a lot of players with a lack of condition but we are more than two seasons together and know what to do. We made a good performance in general and day by day we will get better and better. I am privileged to be manager of Manchester City. They have given me a fantastic squad. I cannot complain for one minute."

Arsenal's new Head Coach Emery has never beaten a Guardiola team in eleven meetings, and he summed up his feelings.

"First, it's a good ambience here with our supporters and also with a big motivation for us to start watching the squad and also we wanted to start today, here in the first match, with our supporters. Today, Manchester City's performance showed us that we need to continue in our process to improve. I think they deserved this result, but we were improving in the 90 minutes, like I think we need to do for the next week and the next match on the pitch. In the second half, it's the moment that maybe we had chances to get a better result," he said.

The genuine enthusiasm and feelings of a new beginning in N5 were evident early on, as Arsenal passed well and and pressed City high up. Not really stretching City when it mattered enabled the visitors to start going through the gears, and even before their opener, Petr Cech kept out Sterling and Riyad Mahrez.

Allowing Sterling time to shift the ball from left to right and then unleash without any pressure gave City the lead after 14 minutes. It was too easy for the champions as Arsenal failed to break clear and threaten Ederson's goal. Guendouzi's lack of cover may have been the reason for City's opener, but the France teenager never shied away from getting possession and his liking to dwell on the ball will have to be addressed as he looks to overcome the way the opposition robbed him of the ball.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles suffered an injury in a tangle at pace with Kyle Walker and although the Arsenal man tried to run off the injury, he nevertheless had to be replaced by Stephan Lichsteiner after 35 minutes.

Mahrez and Sterling were getting joy on either wing as the Gunners struggled to get to grips with a new 4231 system. Playing out from the back almost gifted City a goal on a few occasions, what to do with the ball once it was with the defence seems to be an issue which Emery needs to remedy. Add that to the list then.

Sterling's opener was too easy. Bernard Mendy found the England man who steeped across Bellerin, and then the ineffective attentions of Guendozi, before stroking the ball past Cech. Sokratis didn't move and could have blocked Cech's vision. Arsenal rarely got to threaten Ederson's goal, but when Bellerin controlled to get beyond Mendy, his shot had the power, but was straight at Ederson who saved.

City continued to terrorise and tease the Gunners. Mesut Ozil was being marginalised and he wasn't alone. Hello, were you once Granit Xhaka? The Swiss melted into the afternoon and no surprises when he was yanked off for Lacazette.

The France striker should have levelled, but having hit past Ederson, the ball sped the wrong side of his upright, much to the frustration of Emery and an expectant Emirates crowd. Cheers for the introduction of Lucas Torreira and his time will come, but for now he saw the enormity of the task at hand.

But for Cech, Sergio Aguero could have doubled the lead. Guendouzi's slip let in the Argentine, to be one on one with Cech. The Gunners' keeper got down well to save, but Arsenal were not let off the hook for long.

Mendy' s cross picked out an unmarked Silva to thump past Cech with Sokratis seeing the ball speed past him and into the back of the net. On came Sane and De Bruyne, the latter struck from range late on, but Cech's fingertip save ensured the margin of victory was just the two goals. The difference between the side's however suggests that Emery will need to work his magic in restoring some reality to his team, who next travel to Chelsea on Saturday.

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