Skip to main content

All that’s changed for Arsenal fans is that they can no longer blame Arsène Wenger.

And Unai Emery will be relieved he doesn’t have to come up against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City every week.

City rarely looked troubled by Arsenal as the champions opened their Premier League title defence with a 2-0 victory on Sunday. Raheem Sterling cut through the defence with ease before putting City ahead in the 14th minute, and Bernardo Silva curled in the second in the 64th at Emirates Stadium.

Story continues below advertisement

It was the first time since 1996 that Arsenal has opened a season without Wenger in charge. The “Merci Arsène” banner was the only indication that it has been a summer of transition at the north London club since Wenger was pushed toward resigning after 22 years in charge.

Catching City isn’t the immediate target for the Gunners, who last won the title in 2004. It’s just about returning to the top four – to qualify for the Champions League – after slumping to sixth in Wenger’s final campaign.

Emery now has a clear sense of the task he faces, throwing his arms in the air in frustration as the goals were conceded.

“It’s clear today, Manchester City is demanding our best performance,” the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla coach said. “We need to continue working. But I am happy with the players because they run and they fight, and also we need [to] continue working tactically.”

It was a serene afternoon on the touchline for Guardiola, just like so much of last season, which ended with City setting a series of Premier League records, notably by amassing 100 points.

“The desire to run and run, it was the same as the last season,” Guardiola said. “The first game away against Arsenal, nobody can deny that it’s complicated. A new manager after 20 years.”

Guardiola, whose Barcelona side came up against Emery at Valencia, is in only his third season at City.

Story continues below advertisement

“Manchester City’s performance is showing us we need to continue in our process, improving,” Emery said. “They deserved this, the result. But we were improving [across] the 90 minutes. I think we need [that] for the next week.”

That is a challenging trip across London to Chelsea, which opened the season under new manager Maurizio Sarri with a 3-0 victory at Huddersfield on Saturday.

Liverpool challenge

Liverpool signalled its determination to challenge for the title by spending more than US$200-million on players, more than any other Premier League team in the summer-transfer window.

With debuts for Alisson in goal and Naby Keita in midfield, Liverpool opened with a 4-0 victory over West Ham.

Mohamed Salah, who scored 44 times in his first season at Liverpool, took only 19 minutes to get off the mark at Anfield by meeting Andrew Robertson’s cross with a tap-in.

Another cross from Robertson opened up West Ham for Liverpool’s second in first-half stoppage time. James Milner’s cutback was turned into the net by Sadio Mané, who added a third eight minutes after the break.

Story continues below advertisement

Even after Salah was taken off, the Egyptian’s replacement, Daniel Sturridge, found the net late.

Liverpool, which finished fourth last season, hasn’t won the English title since 1990.

“We know about our expectations and we realize there is a really positive atmosphere around us in the preseason,” manager Juergen Klopp said. “That is good that people are positive, but this season will be unbelievably hard. We cannot be anything different than the challenger because we haven’t won anything since I came in.”

Also Sunday, Southampton and Burnley drew 0-0.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter