Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City 2: Five things we learned

Succeeding a man whose 22-year reign moulded the modern Arsenal was never going to be a cakewalk, but Unai Emery can be under no illusion as to how far off the pace his new club have fallen after this 2-0 defeat to a Manchester City side who barely got out of second gear.

The Spaniard will need time to reshape the team and, given the warm applause from many of the home fans still in Emirates Stadium by the final whistle, the majority of supporters are encouraged enough to afford it.

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This was far from a winning formula, however. Emerys Gunners were unconvincing in defence, too often absent in midfield and ineffective up front, so if he is to retain confidence the meticulous former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla coach may need to go back to the drawing board.

Cruising City flirt with complacency

As in last weeks Community Shield win over Chelsea by the same scoreline, the only blot on the Premier League champions copybook was that the scoreline did not reflect their superiority and utter control.

In between Raheem Sterling putting the visitors ahead in the 14th minute and Bernardo Silva putting the result beyond doubt in the 64th, City – even without David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne – should have scored more.

Bernardo Silva smashed in Benjamin Mendy's cut-back to make it 2-0 (Source: Getty)

Petr Cech twice denied Sergio Aguero, first from a free-kick and later when the Argentina striker was clean through, while Riyad Mahrez cut in and bent a trademark left-footed shot just wide.

If they are to match the heights of last season and go that bit further in the Champions League, rediscovering their ruthless edge will be necessary.

No World Cup hangover for England stars

Dele Allis match-winning display for Tottenham at Newcastle on Saturday suggested England players taking their World Cup form back to their clubs and here was further evidence.

Sterling was at his direct best tormenting Arsenal in the first half, driving past Hector Bellerin and Matteo Guendouzi before firing through a crowd and past Cech.

Kyle Walker scorched the right flank several times and looked razor-sharp, while John Stones controlled the defence and caught the eye with one perfectly timed tackle on Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

No case for Arsenals defence

If a new head coach and handful of signings were meant to shore up Arsenals wobbly rearguard, this match offered scant evidence.

New centre-back Sokratis looked as shaky as partner Shkodran Mustafi, while game but jittery youngster Guendouzi and serial offender Granit Xhaka – giving a greatest hits performance that involved giving the ball away in dangerous areas, a lazy booking and needlessly embellished sideways passes – offered only a flimsy screen.

Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League
Arsenal's defence struggled against City's fast-paced attacks (Source: Getty)

A more aggressive press was in evidence and drew appreciation from the crowd but the tactic of playing out from the back – Cech looking particularly uneasy – played horribly into the hands of a City side who delight in hounding their opponents into mistakes.

Counter missing key ingredient

Emery set up Arsenal to break quickly against City, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the spearhead supported by Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Mkhitaryan.

The problem, however, is that Ramsey, Ozil and Mkhitaryan are simply not that fast, meaning that Aubameyang was either hopelessly isolated or playing in team-mates who could not sprint clear.

This was highlighted by the introduction of Alexandre Lacazette for an injured Ramsey early in the second half. With an extra speed merchant, Arsenal opened up City a handful of times in the following moments.

Should Emery take note and elect to start Lacazette with Aubameyang, a sluggish Mkhitaryan looks most in danger.

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