Unai Emery suffered defeat on his Arsenal debut as Manchester City kicked off their title defence with a 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
Raheem Sterling capped a relentless start from the reigning champions with his 50th Premier League goal inside the quarter-hour mark before Bernardo Silva secured the win with an exquisite second on 64 minutes.
Emery has been tasked with taking Arsenal to the next level after Arsene Wenger’s departure at the end of last season – but it was a familiar, disjointed performance from the Gunners, who visibly need time to adapt to their new manager’s philosophy.
For Pep Guardiola and City, it was business as usual as they took their place among the Premier League’s early pacesetters having started the defence of their crown with an eighth consecutive opening-day triumph.
The sense of optimism and anticipation was tangible ahead of the start of the Emery era at the Emirates, but that soon dissipated once City had found their groove.
Sterling was a constant thorn in Arsenal’s side and, five minutes after drawing Petr Cech into action with a near-post drive, the England international fired City into a deserved lead, skipping past Hector Bellerin and Matteo Guendouzi before lashing the ball beyond the unsighted Gunners goalkeeper.
Bellerin registered Arsenal’s first attempt on target on 21 minutes, playing the ball through Benjamin Mendy’s legs before testing Ederson with a swerving drive, but that proved to be a rare venture into opposition territory for the besieged Gunners.
City responded immediately as Sergio Aguero fired a shot into the side netting and, from the resulting goal-kick, Cech nearly scored a bizarre own goal as City pressured the Arsenal defence, determined to play out from the back.
Cech got down low to his left to keep a Riyad Mahrez free-kick out on 28 minutes, and recovered well to prevent Aymeric Laporte from converting the rebound, before Mahrez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang flashed efforts wide before the interval.
A last-gasp deflection prevented a rasping Aguero drive from doubling City’s lead on 50 minutes, a lead which Arsenal could have erased had Alexandre Lacazette’s dipping volley found the target five minutes later.
Arsenal were fortunate not to go two goals behind when Cech brilliantly prevailed in a one-on-one with Aguero, after Guendouzi’s missed clearance released the City forward through on goal, but a minute later City doubled their lead when Bernardo Silva ruthlessly dispatched Mendy’s cutback.
Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil found the back of the City net as Arsenal pushed for a response, but both efforts were ruled out for offside as Emery was left to reflect on a debut defeat
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