Manchester City ruined the start of the Unai Emery era at Arsenal as the champions signalled their intent to retain the Premier League title with a stylish 2-0 win on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s side swept to the title last term with a record 100 points and they were quickly back in the groove at the Emirates Stadium.Raheem Sterling opened the scoring with a clinical finish early in the first half and Bernardo Silva’s thunderous strike capped a City success that served as a resounding warning to their title rivals.
No team has successfully defended the English title since Manchester United in 2008-09. But on the evidence of this composed display, City have every chance of emulating their rivals’ achievement.
Picking up where they left off last term, City had too much class for Arsenal and easily repelled the hosts’ few dangerous moments.
“We played at a high level. We created a lot of chances. We are satisfied for many reasons,” Guardiola said.
“In the first half we deserved to score two or three more.”
City’s excellence underlined the size of the task facing new Arsenal boss Emery as the Gunners begin life without Arsene Wenger.Arsenal were playing a competitive match without Wenger in charge for the first time since September 1996.
Emery was hired to replace Wenger following the Frenchman’s exit at the end of a dismal campaign which saw Arsenal labour to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League — 37 points behind City.
The Spaniard will need time to make his mark on a moribund club and, while Arsenal couldn’t be faulted for effort against City, there was precious little quality about their play.
“We wanted to show our best performance, but the first half we didn’t play like we wanted. We spoke at half-time about taking more responsibility,” Emery said.