Arsenal v Manchester City

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The Breakdown

The verdict on Guendouzi and Torreira v City

Matteo Guendouzi's impressive pre-season saw him handed an Arsenal debut when Manchester City visited Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The French midfielder caught the eye of former Gunner Adrian Clarke - you can find out why by pressing the 'play' button above.

We've got plenty more content from the weekend's game right here:

The Breakdown

The final word on Unai Emery's first game

We showed promise at times, but the Unai Emery era ultimately began with a 2-0 defeat at home to champions Manchester City on Sunday.

In this episode of The Breakdown, former Gunner, Adrian Clarke, looks back at the positives and negatives from our first Premier League game of the season, focusing particularly on:

  • Why our pressing was effective at times and ineffective at others
  • How Matteo Guendouzi performed in his first match for us
  • The impact Alexandre Lacazette's introduction had on the team
  • What we need to fix before the Chelsea game
  • A detailed look at Petr Cech's display

Click the 'play' button above to watch. And if you want to see more from the Manchester City game, don't miss this:

The Breakdown

Why Cech was our main man against Man City

Petr Cech had an eventful afternoon against Manchester City on Sunday.

Our No 1 made a series of fine saves throughout, keeping us in the game with an excellent one-on-one stop to deny Sergio Aguero in the second half.

Here, Adrian Clarke takes an in-depth look at our goalkeeper's performance.

Press conference

Read every word of Emery’s press conference

Unai Emery was a bundle of energy on touchline throughout his first Premier League game as our head coach. But he couldn’t get the result he wanted against Manchester City.

It was the toughest possible start to Unai’s tenure and in his post-match press conference he picked out the positives and identified where we need to improve.

Read on for a full transcript:

on his verdict after his first game...

First, it's a good ambience here with our supporters and also with a big motivation for us to start watching the squad and also we wanted to start today, here in the first match, with our supporters. Today, Manchester City's performance showed us that we need to continue in our process to improve. I think they deserved this result, but we were improving in the 90 minutes, like I think we need to do for the next week and the next match on the pitch. In the second half, it's the moment that maybe we had chances to get a better result.

on the players' application of his ideas...

Today, Manchester City demanded our best performance. Today we watched and we need to continue working. I am happy with the players because they ran and they fought. We need to continue working tactically and defensively, and doing more to shorten the differences today between Manchester City and us.

on this game being a barometer of what progress is needed...

Yes. But we know this. We're starting and we need also to do one process one way. Today is the first step. Manchester City are working in their third year with Guardiola and they have built a team with security, good players and a great stability of playing like they want. We are only starting out now.

on not picking Bernd Leno...

We want the competition between the goalkeepers and also every player in the squad. Despite the position, it is the same opportunity and the same chances for all the goalkeepers. We spoke also and Petr Cech, he is doing very well. Today as well, I think he played well also. He has this experience for continuing to defend our goal. Also, Leno is starting with us. He is working very well, he played well in pre-season too but he has to wait for his chance to arrive.

on the first goal being reminiscent of the old Arsenal...

It's two different halves, the first and the second half, for me. The first half, we conceded more space on the pitch for Manchester City to progress. They deal very well with these situations and because they know that, they have confidence in their performance. In the second half, we took more risks with our pressing, took more risks with the ball to break their lines and go forward quickly. We wanted to create a goal so that we could get back into the game. I want to continue the process to build our team. I think we finished with the spirit I want and the team, for 90 minutes, they ran, they tried and they pushed. But I think we need to improve collectively and also individually. But I think this process is normal today against a great team like Manchester City.

on facing Chelsea next week and how we avoid having our press broken...

Each match is different. We want to prepare for each match with the difficulty and demands of the opposition. But today, I think the team in more time, we are playing with this personality and we need to improve this personality with better performances on the pitch. In the next week we are continuing this work and against Chelsea we are going to analyse the opposition. We are going there to win, with this intention against Chelsea.

on Ainsley Maitland-Niles…

Today we are going to do the medical analysis with the doctor. Nacho is starting with the group, working yesterday and maybe he can come in, maybe, for the next match. I think every day is important to know how they are.


Highlights: Unai Emery's first Premier League game

Unai Emery's tenure began with a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

There were debuts for Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira - but City's cutting edge proved the difference, with Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva on the scoresheet.

Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both went close, but ultimately it ended in defeat as we began a new era in north London.

You can watch all the highlights from the match by pressing the 'Play' button above, while an extended edit of the match can be seen below.


Lichtsteiner on playing out from the back

Stephan Lichtsteiner

It was a baptism of fire for Stephan Lichtsteiner on Sunday as he came off the bench as we were trailing Manchester City - and had to fill in at left-back.

The Switzerland captain was disappointed with the defeat but feels there were positives to be taken from the game.

This is what he told the media:

on the second goal…
It’s not easy because I think it’s easier to score in front, so I came first inside and then he came in on the other side so it wasn’t so easy to defend.
on playing out from the back…
We’ve got to do it and we will work very hard to improve. We will work very hard to come back.
on Unai Emery…
We improved in the game. We’re Arsenal and we like to play football, even against Manchester City. It’s very difficult, but like I said, he’s had us working very hard.
on whether he’s optimistic for the season ahead…
Of course, we wanted to win! But we will look forward and work hard for next time.


‘Compared to where we were, we’re better’

Bellerin against Manchester City

Hector Bellerin is confident that we are on the up, despite losing to Manchester City on Sunday.

Our right back went as close as any Arsenal player to scoring at the Emirates with a fierce shot that Ederson pushed away. Here’s what Hector said after the game:

on what he can take away from the game…

Well, I see the game as something positive. Having been on the pitch today, I think that compared to where we were last year I think we looked better and had chances in the second half that we didn’t score. We’re playing against a team that have been around each other for three years and they have new players and were crowned champions, so we knew that it was going to be hard, so for us it’s about taking the positives.

on defeat in the first game of the season…

There’s still loads of games but you cannot be missing out on points. Every single point is important and going away to Chelsea is always hard. They showed yesterday that they’re a team that play very good football under Sarri, and we’re up for the challenge. We played them in pre-season so we know more or less how they play, so now we have a whole week to prepare and get ready for it.

on whether we can beat our achievements of recent seasons…

Definitely. I think after 22 years under Arsene Wenger there are many things that are changing so it’s important for everyone to get used to all the players. Everyone should be very excited because it’s a new era for us and it’s about learning with the new coach, learning the new system and I’m sure we’ll get better. If you compare it to Guardiola’s first year it was a very hard year for him - and look where they are now! So we need to look at it that way. It’s a positive change and we’re excited.


Cech - Why we tried to play out from the back

Petr Cech

Petr Cech was one of our standout performers against Manchester City on Sunday.

The goalkeeper made a string of solid stops - including a fine double save in the first half - and his handling was safe throughout.

Ultimately, Cech ended up on the losing side against a highly-accomplished City. Here’s his take on the game:

on Manchester City and the team’s performance…
They’re a team that’s full of confidence and last year’s champions, so obviously it will always be difficult, but I have to say that we came to the game with our objectives to grow up as a team, to learn our way, how we want to play and obviously we had the task of doing it against one of the best teams, so it was difficult. But at times we did really well, and we put them under some pressure as well. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t find that final pass to finish the opportunities off.

on if he felt that we struggled to play out from the back…
They pressed really well and obviously when you make one pass slower than it should be the player doesn’t have the time to use the ball quickly. Obviously you can be under pressure but at times we managed to get out pretty well. We didn’t want them to feel comfortable and have the ball always at their feet so that they could control the game.

on Guendouzi…
He’s a very talented player and he had an unbelievable pre-season for a boy who comes from the second division [in France]. It’s a big difference and throughout the pre-season I think he deserved his spot in the starting XI for his work and the quality that he put on the pitch. He had a difficult task but I thought that he did really well.

on whether City could have scored more…
Well, it could have been more, and it could have been us as well! I thought that in the second half we managed to force them into making some mistakes with their build-up, and we had some opportunities to counter-attack, but unfortunately we couldn’t find another killer pass. In the last 30 yards we lacked a little bit of invention to have a good touch and finish the action off, but when you play against a team with such quality and confidence, it was always going to be difficult.

But I thought that we tried to keep the ball and not give it to them so that they couldn’t control the whole game, and in the end I thought we did pretty well, so it’s a shame that we couldn’t finish some of the half-chances from our counter-attacks in the second half. Overall it’s obviously a defeat and we are disappointed with that. We have to realise that it’s our first game together like that with a new head coach and a new way of playing, so I think it’s going to help us to grow.

on Emery asking him to play out of defence…
I have to say that I enjoy it because I played under different managers with different styles and over most of my career I was always asked to play long, so this is a pleasant change for me and it will be very useful when you want to beat a team who controls the game through possession. You need to create the superiority in the back when you build up and obviously today they are very used to playing a high press and they did it very well. At times they put us under pressure but I think we did pretty well over the course of the game.

on how much people can read into today’s result…
It’s a defeat which is obviously disappointing. I felt that we had a very good pre-season and we prepared really well for the game and we believed that we could get something out of the game, but as I said, with their quality in the final third they found two opportunities and they scored. We couldn’t match them there. We had some very good moves but unfortunately the killer pass was missing.


Post-Match Report

Arsenal 0-2 Man City: How it happened

Stephan Lichtsteiner


Our Premier League campaign started with a defeat to the champions - but there was promise in our performance.

Raheem Sterling scored the opening goal, a fizzing drive into the corner after he scampered infield to shoot from a central position just outside the box.

And Bernardo Silva made the points safe with a brilliant first-time finish.

Manchester City bossed the early stages, spending long periods deep in our defensive third.

Riyad Mahrez was inches away from scoring and Petr Cech was forced into a fine double save to deny the new City signing from a free-kick and the follow-up from Aymeric Laporte.

But, despite a few scares, we stayed in the game. And, with our pressing tactics to the fore, we carved out a few opportunities of our own.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Hector Bellerin’s excellent first touch set up a shot that Ederson pushed away, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired just wide.

Substitute Alex Lacazette made a difference in the second half, and went close within moments of coming on.

But Cech was still busy and had to be at his best to deny Sergio Aguero when he raced through on goal.

It was a temporary reprieve - Bernardo Silva rattled home from Benjamin Mendy’s cutback to give City some breathing space.

That goal took the wind out of our sails and, although we continued to push forward, City kept us at arm’s length for the rest of the game.

There are certainly positives to take from this display, but for now we remain a work in progress.

City - as everyone knows - are the finished article.


See how our Premier League opener panned out with our play-by-play commentary


Impressive pressing, playing out from the back, Emery’s energy and City’s class

Unai Emery

Unai Emery


Unai Emery had some tricky selection decisions to make ahead of his first Premier League game in charge.

In the end he picked Cech over Bernd Leno in goal and Matteo Guendouzi ahead of Lucas Torreira in midfield. Mkhitaryan got the nod ahead of Lacazette in the front three and Ainsley Maitland-Niles - as expected - started at left-back. 

He didn’t last long though, picking up a first-half injury and replaced by debutant Stephan Lichtsteiner.


Another tough test awaits next Saturday when we travel to west London to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Then it’s back to the Emirates for another London derby on August 25 - against Jack Wilshere and West Ham United.