Arsenal v Manchester City
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is back in training after suffering a calf problem, but left-back Nacho Monreal is doubtful with a knee issue.
With Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac out, head coach Unai Emery hinted Danny Welbeck could start in defence.
Kolasinac and fellow defender Laurent Koscielny are long-term absentees with respective knee and Achilles injuries.
Manchester City’s club record signing Riyad Mahrez is set to make his first Premier League appearance for the club.
World Cup pair Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne have been passed fit, while left-back Benjamin Mendy could start his first league game since September 2017.
Could Welbeck really start at left-back?
Welbeck has experienced strong competition in attack from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan of late, but Emery said there are no plans in place to sell the 27-year-old forward.
Without Monreal, Kolasinac and Koscielny, however, former Paris St-Germain boss Emery may turn to Welbeck as an alternative in defence after the England international forward trained at left-back prior to Sunday’s visit of City.
“Danny Welbeck is one of the players who has a multi-position possibility,” Emery said.
“Right winger, left winger, striker, and also yesterday he worked with us at left-back – his performance was good. I like this spirit. To help positions across the team with positive spirit.”
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@Guymowbray: As Arsenal start at home for the seventh year running, the Emirates might be the best place to be on Premier League opening weekend for a third season in a row.
Last year the Gunners beat Leicester City 4-3, while in 2016 they lost by the same score to Liverpool… and now it’s another opener that promises goals.
Arsenal should get plenty as the season goes on – in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette they have two of the top seven favourites to be the league’s top scorer – but keeping goals out is Unai Emery’s priority.
That’s an almost impossible task against City, who set out to defend their title the same as last season – plus Riyad Mahrez. Frightening.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery: “After two years with [Pep] Guardiola, they [City] have more stability and security. When you watch their matches, they play with great confidence in themselves and also I think Guardiola’s coaching is clear in this team.
“I am 46, he is 47. He started his career as a bigger player than me. His career as a coach is bigger than me.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: “He [Emery] is an excellent manager. What he achieved – three Europa Leagues in a row – is excellent. He is a good manager and it is good for the Premier League.
“Our target is: try to win as much as we can and in April and May, we will see [the outcome]. If we are good and consistent like last season, we have a good chance.”
New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery might not work out his best team for a few weeks, but we know all about City – who looked very smooth in their win over Chelsea in the Community Shield last weekend.
- Arsenal have just two wins in the last 12 meetings with Manchester City (D5, L5).
- Manchester City could win consecutive top-flight away games against Arsenal for the first time since 1936.
- This is the first time that Arsenal will face the reigning champions on the opening day since 1970, when they drew 2-2 with Everton.
- The last time these sides met on the opening day was in 1994, when George Graham’s Arsenal side won 3-0 at Highbury.
- The Gunners’ only defeat in their last 11 home Premier League games was a 3-0 loss to Manchester City (W8, D2).
- The last time Arsenal played a competitive match without Arsene Wenger in charge was in September 1996, when Pat Rice was caretaker for a 2-0 Premier League win over Sunderland.
- Four of the last five Arsenal managers have won their first league game in charge – only Bruce Rioch failed to do so, drawing with Middlesbrough in August 1995.
- Unai Emery could become the first Arsenal boss to lose his opening league fixture since Steve Burtenshaw’s team lost 1-0 to Spurs in March 1986.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has 10 goals and four assists in 13 Premier League appearances.
- Manchester City are seeking to become the first club to retain the Premier League title since Manchester United won three in a row from 2007 to 2009.
- The reigning champions have ended the following season outside the top four in each of the last three years.
- City are unbeaten in nine opening league matches, winning the last seven in a row.
- They have only lost once in 20 away league games (W17, D2).
- Pep Guardiola is unbeaten in 10 previous meetings with Unai Emery (W6, D4).
via BBC Sport – Football https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
August 11, 2018 at 02:36PM