Arsenal vs Manchester City
Venue: Emirates Stadium
TV: Sky Sports Premier League
Referee: Michael Oliver
Unai Emery’s Premier League career starts with a bang as his Arsenal side take on Champions Manchester City in the standout fixture of the opening weekend of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
Both clubs approach the new campaign with confidence, the Gunners undefeated in pre-season while City convincingly dispatched Chelsea last Sunday to lift the Community Shield.
Arsenal made The Emirates their fortress last term, dropping only 10 points all season. However, three of those were taken by Pep Guardiola’s City, in an emphatic 3-0 drubbing.
Despite City looking imperious already, this clash should be a much closer affair, as Arsenal aim to win their first league title in fourteen years.
Arsenal will likely name a new look XI from their final game of 2017/18, with summer signings Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Lucas Torreira all fit and eligible to play.
Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey could miss out through injury, while the Gunners will definitely be without defenders Sead Kolasinac and Laurent Koscielny.
Unai Emery has plenty of selection dilemmas throughout his side, with Leno, Petr Cech and David Ospina all vying for a starting berth in goal, while he must decide whether to play all of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang or sacrifice at least one of them in an attempt to contain City.
Pep Guardiola has similarly many selection dilemmas. The Spaniard must choose between John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, Aymeric Laporte and Vincent Kompany in the centre of defence, while Benjamin Mendy has returned to fitness at left back.
Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden impressed in midfield against Chelsea, but could be replaced by David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, the duo having returned from an extended break after the World Cup.
Raheem Sterling also linked up with the squad this week, and will likely start on the bench. Riyad Mahrez will be the only new signing to feature this weekend, likely in an attacking three with Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Arsenal – Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles; Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Mkhitaryan; Lacazette, Aubameyang
Manchester City – Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Mendy; Fernandinho, D. Silva, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Aguero, Sane.
Predicted Score: Arsenal 1 Manchester City 2