Thu | Apr 25, 2019

Work cut out for Emery's Arsenal

Published:Monday | August 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Arsenal manager Unai Emery (right), watches Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling (left) fight for the ball with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil during the English Premier League at the Emirates stadium in London, England, yesterday.


All that's changed for Arsenal fans is that they can no longer blame Arsene Wenger.

And Unai Emery will be relieved that he does not have to come up against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City every week.

City rarely looked troubled by Arsenal as the champions opened their English Premier League title defence with a 2-0 victory yesterday. Raheem Sterling cut through the defence with ease before putting City ahead in the 14th minute, and Bernardo Silva curled in the second in the 64th at the Emirates Stadium.

It was the first time since 1996 that Arsenal had opened a season without Wenger in charge. The "Merci Arsene" banner was the only indication that it has been a summer of transition at the north London club since Wenger was pushed toward resigning after 22 years in charge.

Catching City is not the immediate target for the Gunners, who last won the title in 2004. It is just about returning to the top four - to qualify for the UEFA Champions League - after slumping to sixth in Wenger's final campaign.

Emery now has a clear sense of the task he faces, throwing his arms in the air in frustration as the goals were conceded.

It was a serene afternoon on the touchline for Guardiola, just like so much of last season, which ended with City setting a series of Premier League records, notably by amassing 100 points.