Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva pace Man City in opening win over Arsenal
You could be forgiven for thinking the Premier League had never been away. Manchester City picked up where they left off at the end of their record-breaking season and, despite having tired legs and personnel that had missed most of preseason, took a comfortable victory at Arsenal. The shape of the team was different, but the outcome was the same -- and the signs are this could be another exciting campaign.
City looked rusty. But despite that, they were able to keep Arsenal at arm's length and, barring a 10-minute spell where the hosts got on top, the Champions never looked like giving up the points in their opening match of the season. Two great goals topped off a lovely performance for the first day.
Some of the passing was loose, especially towards the end of the match, and the number of chances City missed by either shooting off target or not finding the shot will be a concern.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Pep Guardiola got his lineup spot on and his substitutions won control of the game back as Arsenal threatened to get on top.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 -- The goalkeeper looked like a man who'd spent the summer on the bench for his country and hadn't played in preseason. A couple of smart stops were balanced out by some bad passes towards the end of the match.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 -- What pace the defender showed to both cope with Arsenal's counter-attacking threat and to add width to the visitors' attack. He got in behind a number of times and was unlucky not to have created something more dangerous going forward.
DF John Stones, 8 -- A star for his country at the World Cup, Stones continued his form into the new season. He was excellent at Wembley in the Community Shield and added an authoritative and controlled display at the Emirates to it for the opening day. He's back to his pre-injury best.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 8 -- The defending was excellent, but the shining part of Laporte's performance were his raking passes to Riyad Mahrez. He re-wrote the rulebook for passing from the back with some of those naughty balls through.
DF Benjamin Mendy, 6 -- Several barnstorming runs down the flank aside, there could be a few concerns about the Frenchman's defensive awareness. Caught out a couple of times, he certainly had his better moments when City were on the attack.
MF Fernandinho, 7 -- The Brazilian bossed the midfield once again and proved why he is pivotal to Guardiola's philosophy. He broke up play excellently and got the ball moving forward.
MF Bernardo Silva, 9 -- An underrated star in this team, the Portuguese showed a glimpse of what he's got to offer. His vision and passing were superb, and his finish was an absolute belter. A great start to the season and one to watch for a central position for sure.
MF Riyad Mahrez, 7 -- For his Premier League debut, the Algerian only really looked like he was just warming up in this City side. Without much time to get to know his new colleagues, the winger seemed to be still bedding in -- but still provided dangerous moments and forced Petr Cech into a smart save with a free kick.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 6 -- It was a disappointing afternoon for the German, who was the worst of City's players on show. He gave away a few loose passes when trying to get the strikers in on goal.
MF Raheem Sterling, 9 -- The winger picked up where he left off for City. A cracking finish to open the scoring was combined with a display that left Arsenal's defenders shaking in their boots every time he had the ball and drove at them.
FW Sergio Aguero, 7 -- A decent start to the season for the striker would have been improved had he squared for Kevin De Bruyne in the second half instead of missing a one-on-one with Cech. He was running all over the shop and causing Arsenal problems, but still showed a few signs of rustiness.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 -- Coming on for Mahrez just before the hour mark, the Belgian shored things up for the visitors and got back control of the game
FW Gabriel Jesus, N/R -- On for Aguero on 79 minutes, he worked hard across the front three for the final moments.
MF Leroy Sane, N/R -- Replacing Raheem Sterling for the closing minutes, he didn't have much time to impress.