• By Charlie Stong

Cech can’t hold City attack as Arsenal are downed 2-0 in League opener


The Unai Emery era started with defeat as Arsenal were beaten 2-0 by champions Manchester City this afternoon.

In the first 20 minutes City picked up where they left off last season with some slick passing carving the hosts open, achieving particular success down the left flank against makeshift left back Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

When City took the lead through Raheem Sterling’s 50th Premier League goal inside the first 15 minutes it looked like the Gunners might be in for a hiding.

Only a couple of really good saves from Petr Cech kept the hosts in the contest.

In the second half Arsenal started the brighter of the two sides and on another day Alexander Lacazette’s volley would have found its way the right side of the post.

Cech made his best save of the whole game when Matteo Guendouzi’s failed clearance allowed Sergio Aguero a free run at the Gunners’ goal.

But the reprieve was only a temporary one as City scored their second goal – killing the game – just seconds later through Bernardo Silva.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil both had the ball in the City goal as Arsenal pushed for a response, but both efforts were ruled out for offside as Emery was left to ponder defeat on his first outing.

On the plus side for the Gunners was an encouraging debut for Guendouzi, who didn’t in any way look out of his depth in the Premier League.

Stephan Lichsteiner’s experience will be invaluable for the younger members of the squad and he is an important addition to the side – despite operating on the left, the opposite side to the pitch which he usually plays on – the Gunners looked more solid in defence when he replaced Maitland-Niles. There were stories circulating before the game that Arsenal were so depleted in the left back position before this game that even Danny Welbeck was tried out in the position during training.

It was rather a surprise that Cech got the nod in goal in place of Berndt Leno but, despite one heart-stopping moment when Cech almost kicked the ball into his own net when attempting a left footed pass across goal, he justified his selection with some important saves which kept the scoreline respectable.

Sokratis, the other debutant, also had a decent game.

Arsenal will not be judged this season in games against Manchester City, however. Despite the champions having several key players missing they were still too good – and they will be for most, if not all teams, this season.

More accurate a reflection on where this current Arsenal side lie will be deduced after the game next week at Chelsea. A decent result there and the Gunners’ fans could realistically begin to think a top-four finish can be achievable this season. Back to back defeats will leave them playing catch-up after just two games.

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