- Arsenal vs Manchester City
- 4:00 pm Sunday 12th August
- Emirates Stadium
Arsenal’s new manager Unai Emery faces a very tough test in his first Premier League game, with champions Manchester City heading to north London on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile City boss Pep Guardiola has warned that his players must better last season’s performances if they wish to win back-to-back Premier League titles
What the managers have said
Emery’s words will be music to Arsenal fans’ ears after years of leaking goals under Arsene Wenger: “Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to do things with combinations, to control the match with the positioning of the ball. And then when we have space, to be aggressive going forward.
“Defensively: first it is to be organised, recover the ball quickly. But in these two moments in the match, we need to work. To say it here is easier than doing it on the pitch. We also need time, but now I am happy because I think the players are improving.
“We need two things: quality players, which we have, and then organisation. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play.”
Guardiola is keeping taking things one game at a time: “Focus is most important in defending a title. Today we were training and we trained well.
“A big mistake is to think, ‘we are going to win or do this or that’, we need to prepare and do our process and don’t think too much about back-to-back titles.”
For Arsenal, Unai Emery will be hoping Aaron Ramsey is fit for Sunday’s match. Ramsey suffered a slight calf injury but has returned to training and could be fit.
Sead Kolasinac (knee) and Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) are out of the tie as new signings Bernd Leno, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi all push to make their competitive debuts.
Pep Guardiola confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon both Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne are available for selection for City, despite only returning to training this week following their three-week post-World Cup break.
Danilo (ankle) has been sidelined since picking up an injury during the World Cup with Brazil, while David Silva is also out having been absent throughout City’s pre-season campaign.
Riyad Mahrez could make his league debut for the club following his £60million summer move from Leicester.
Predicted Starting Line-ups
Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles; Torreira, Xhaka, Ramsey; Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Man City Ederson; Walker, Stones, Kompany, Mendy; Fernandinho, B. Silva, De Bruyne; Sterling, Sane, Aguero