Arsenal’s bid to get their English Premier League season off to a positive start fell abruptly as they lost 2-0 to Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium.
The defending champions continued to look like a well-oiled machine against the Gunners as they dominated the early parts of the game until Raheem Sterling eventually opened the scoring for the visitors.
Bernardo Silva would eventually double City’s lead and Unai Emery’s first Premier League game ends in a loss in front of the London crowd.
There were many things to talk about for both sides, with City largely getting positives from this match in their bid to win back-to-back Premier League titles.
As for Arsenal, their hopes of becoming one of the title contenders took a big hit in their first game and they are certainly hoping that things get better moving forward.
Here are a few talking points in the Gunners’ loss against Pep Guardiola’s men.
WINGERS FAILED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Ahead of their match-up against Manchester City, Arsenal needed to be at their best against the defending champions.
Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are two of the team’s best creators and many believed that their presence on the pitch should help the Gunners against their rivals.
Placed on either sides of the pitch, Emery’s formation did not seem to benefit both playmakers as they cut frustrated figures for most of the night.
Between the two, Ozil seemed to be struggling more as he was not like his usual fluid self. Normally smooth with the ball and creative with passing, the German misplaced passes and seemed to be out of sorts for most of the game.
Mkhitaryan was not as wasteful but failed to make an impact at all. He made one cross and lost in duels against the City defenders, He was thoroughly neutralised in the contest.
Naturally, this resulted in the lack of service towards Pierre-Emerick Aumabeyang to try and attempt a shot at goal.
NEW SIGNING AS A SUBSTITUTE
The arrival of Uruguayan Lucas Torreira at the Emirates was a very welcome sign for Arsenal fans as they believed the midfielder would inject new life in the team’s system.
Brought in from Sampdoria for over €30 million, many believed that Emery would find a way to put him in the midfield alongside other stars like Ozil. Unfortunately, the new manager had other ideas as Torreira was not in the starting XI.
Instead, Emery relied on Aaron Ramsey, Matte Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka to operate the middle of the pitch.
The youngster Guendouzi had a lukewarm debut for the Gunners as he showed some potential at times but was wasteful with other chances given to him.
As for Ramsey, he often joined Aumabeyang in the attack but was unable to really make a difference as well as he left the game without a goal to his name.
Xhaka was nowhere to be found as well and many were relieved to see Torreira come in the 70th minute to replace the Swiss midfielder. Many believe that this switch should be made more permanent and that the investment paid for Torreira must result in him creating chemistry with other Gunners on the pitch.
LACAZETTE CAME IN FROM THE BENCH
Another thing that everyone noticed was the absence of Alexandre Lacazette in the starting XI to help Aumabeyang in the scoring duties.
During the pre-season, the two strikers were often paired together up front, and it resulted in eight goals in only four games together.
This led to many hoping that the two would form a partnership to terrorise defenders but Emery had other plans in this as well.
As said earlier, Ramsey was often deployed as the player who can link up with the former Borussia Dortmund striker up front but at times Aumabeyang was the lone threat in Arsenal’s final third.
Thankfully, Lacazette made his entry in the 54th minute of the game and it changed the complexion of the contest as Arsenal were finally in it. The two were threatening and had their chances for a goal if not for the City defence recovering in the final moments.
Emery should try and continue this partnership that flourished in the pre-season and they might be the Gunners’ best chance against stifling defensive teams.