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City start title defence with fine Emirates win

13 August 2018

Unai Emery might have found an intriguing solution to Arsenal's left-back problem, with Danny Welbeck having impressed there in training.

Emery's men struggled to break down a typically solid City back four, which possessed the new centre-back partnership of Laporte and John Stones.

City began the game without David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, two stars of last year's record-breaking season, and Guardiola believes rotation will be crucial if City are to repeat their 100 point haul.

Emery was not afraid to make bold changes during the game, either.

The Gunners were far too structured and predictable, nearly robotic as they consistently played short passes out from the back at every opportunity.

Pep Guardiola's side were a cut above the rest of the league last season and are deservedly favourites to be champions again and become the first team in a decade to retain the Premier League trophy.

Guardiola insists his players are still "starving" for success and there is little doubt City's hunger for silverware remains strong.

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Those that know him say Emery watches 12 hours of video for each game, and you can expect the Arsenal players to watch a good few hours too preparing for this match. "We trained just one week, two weeks, but the spirit was there".

"We spoke about this before the game. they know they can do it". Benjamin Mendy advanced down the left and squared for Bernardo Silva who thumped the ball into the top corner.

The France worldwide missed most of last season with an injury and Guardiola admitted his return is still a work in progress.

City will be the first competitive opponents for Arsenal since the appointment of Guardiola's fellow Spaniard Unai Emery as manager in place of the long-serving Arsene Wenger. "And today is the first step in that".

DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 6 - A taxing if not eye-catching debut for the Greek global, who was booked for a cynical foul that suggested he might yet prove to be the kind of no-nonsense centre-half Arsenal need. Although it's obvious he wants Arsenal to play the ball out from the back, one wonders if a more direct approach might have enabled them to bypass City's midfield. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way.

"The team, for 90 minutes, they ran, they tried, they pushed, but we need to improve all collective and individual aspects". City are working three years with Guardiola, building a team with good players and great stability. The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: "We need to protect the goalkeepers". This process is normal. It remains to be seen how he will respond to Emery's style of play.

City start title defence with fine Emirates win