Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City: Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva give champions win

Raheem Sterling scored his 50th Premier League goal to give City the lead

Manchester City got their Premier League title defence off to a winning start with a deserved victory over an Arsenal side playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger since 1996.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 14th minute when he got the ball on the corner of the box, cut beyond two players and rifled home from 20 yards.

Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut for City when his free-kick was saved by Petr Cech, who denied Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up.

It was always going to be a tough first game for Unai Emery at Arsenal and they had few clear-cut chances – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Alexandre Lacazette shooting wide from outside the box.

City were brilliant in parts – and controlled in others – and killed off the game when Benjamin Mendy, who assisted both goals, pulled the ball back for Bernardo Silva to blast in a second.

City are the team to beat again

Pep Guardiola’s City, who looked good in the 2-0 Community Shield win over Chelsea, were in fine form again. They only signed one first-team player – Mahrez in a £60m record deal – in the summer, and he went straight into their Premier League line-up.

Sterling, who was selected on the left wing over Leroy Sane, opened the scoring when he received a pass from Mendy, making his first Premier League start since September.

The England winger received the ball on the left corner of the box, beat Hector Bellerin and Matteo Guendouzi and then rifled a 20-yard shot past Cech, who must have been unsighted as he barely moved.

It was his 50th Premier League goal and a good start to the season after being harshly criticised during England’s World Cup semi-final run.

By that stage Bernardo and Sterling had already had shots saved by Cech at his near post.

City kept pushing for a second goal that their performance deserved and went close when Arsenal’s keeper denied Mahrez and Laporte.

Mahrez curled another shot just wide late in the first half. The Algerian put in a good performance on the right, and but was replaced by Kevin de Bruyne on the hour mark.

Record goalscorer Sergio Aguero should have had his 202nd City goal when he was played in one-on-one from the halfway line but he shot right at Cech – with De Bruyne free in the centre.

Bernardo finally sealed the points when he finished from Mendy’s cutback.

City keeper Ederson played a few nervy passes late on – although Arsenal could not capitalise – and De Bruyne almost added a third with the last kick but Cech tipped his shot over.

How did new-look Arsenal perform?

It would be unfair to judge Arsenal – or Emery, who replaced legendary manager Wenger this summer – based on a performance against the country’s outstanding team. The Spaniard failed to beat Guardiola in their first 10 meetings in La Liga and Europe and was never likely to end that run at the Emirates.

Arsenal started off brightly for the first five minutes and ended the first half strongly, with Aubameyang firing wide from 20 yards and Henrikh Mkhitaryan shooting into the side netting.

Two players made debuts from the start – experienced Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, a signing from Borussia Dortmund, and teenage holding midfielder Guendouzi, who was playing in France’s second division with Lorient last season.

Guendouzi showed some good moments with tackles and passes although was beaten for Sterling’s opener and allowed Aguero in for the one-on-one chance he should have finished.

He is likely to have a big role under Emery this season and when Lucas Torreira came on for his second-half debut, it was fellow defensive midfielder Granit Xhaka and not Guendouzi replaced.

Cech started in goal, instead of £19m summer signing Bernd Leno and justified his place with good stops from Bernardo, Sterling, Aguero and De Bruyne and especially the double save to deny Mahrez and Laporte.

With Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac injured, Emery had suggested he could play forward Danny Welbeck at left-back – but Ainsley Maitland-Niles, usually a midfielder, got the nod instead.

The 20-year-old was given a torrid time by Mahrez and especially Kyle Walker, and ended up going off after 35 minutes when he hurt himself while stopping another Walker run.

Veteran Swiss right-back Stephan Lichsteiner came on for his debut on the left side in his place.

There were clear signs that Arsenal – who played a 4-2-3-1 – need more time to get used to the new system or gel with the fresh faces – with Ramsey – who only completed seven passes – Aubameyang and Ozil all playing the ball into empty space in the second half.

When City goalkeeper Ederson gifted Arsenal a late chance, Ozil mis-controlled the ball back to the goalkeeper.

Man of the match – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Sterling brought his 2017-18 form into the new season with an early goal. He had three shots in a lively performance on the left wing

What’s next?

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has got a really tough start – he follows this game up with a trip to Chelsea next Saturday (17:30 BST). City host Huddersfield on Sunday (13:30 BST).

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