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Raheem Sterling (centre) celebrates
Raheem Sterling (centre) celebrates

Champions Manchester City started the defence of their Premier League title with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Unai Emery's Arsenal at the Emirates.

Pep Guardiola's side were dominant in the first half and should have gone in at the break with more than just the 1-0 lead given to them by Raheem Sterling after his run and show from the edge of the box.

The new-look Gunners were much improved after the interval and were threatening to get back on level terms before Bernardo Silva thumped in a decisive second goal just after the hour mark.

Even after that there were just some signs of sloppiness creeping into the City ranks as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil had great chances to score in the closing stages, but it was a desrved three points in the end for the visitors.

The positives outweighed any minor negatives for City, who looked as slick as last season at times but not quite as clinical - Sergio Aguero missed a one-on-one against Petr Cech - but Guardiola will be pleased he was able to start with Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane on the bench and still win with something in hand.

Opta Stats

  • Arsenal have enjoyed just two victories in their last nine opening weekend Premier League games, drawing three and losing three.
  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 10 opening Premier League fixtures (W9 D1), winning the last eight in a row.
  • Unai Emery is the first of Arsenal’s last six managers (including caretakers) to lose his first league game in charge of the club, since Steve Burtenshaw lost 0-1 against Tottenham in March 1986.
  • Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola remains unbeaten against Arsenal’s Emery in all competitions, winning seven and drawing four of the eleven meetings.
  • Matteo Guendouzi is the 27th French player to play for Arsenal in the Premier League; no club has seen more French players in the competition (Newcastle United also on 27).
  • Stephan Lichtsteiner is the oldest outfield player to make his Premier League debut for Arsenal, at 34 years and 208 days.
  • Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling has now scored 50 Premier League goals, with his opener against Arsenal only his third from outside the box.
  • Sterling has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances for the Citizens, scoring five and assisting seven.
  • Manchester City full-back Benjamin Mendy registered two assists in a game in Europe’s big five leagues for only the second time ever (also for Monaco v Nice in February 2017) and for the first time ever away from home.
  • Bernardo Silva has scored five goals in his last seven Premier League starts for Manchester City after failing to score in his first nine.

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