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What Will Happen In Emery's First Premier League Match?

 arsenal semi final europa league match preview

Match Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester City - Premier League - 12.08.2018

Today Arsenal play their first Premier League game for almost 22 years without Arsène Wenger in the dug out. Unai Emery is the new man in charge and he's already set about stamping his mark on the squad he inherited from Arsenal's longest serving and most successful manager. Emery has stated he wants to forge a new identity for Arsenal with a pressing game and tactical approach that will complement our attacking players. 

New players have started to bed into the team but despite making promising moves in the transfer window bringing in Sokratis, Lichtsteiner, Leno, Guendouzi and Torreira it seems Arsenal are already suffering the age old problem of starting the season with a defensive crisis. Nacho Monreal is doubtful with a knee issue and Sead Kolasinac is out so Arsenal are short at left-back and Emery has considered starting Danny Welbeck in defence! The England striker has a lot of competition for attacking places from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan but Emery has no plans to sell Welbeck. Instead the boss has said Welbeck could be used 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."

Laurent Koscielny has been named the new captain but he's injured for the foreseeable future and will be focused on building his strength, maybe with some meals from www.fitnessmuscles.com.au, so it'll fall to the vice-captains to offer leadership on the pitch. Petr Cech has been named a vice-captain which suggests he's considered a starter but I think Leno will get the nod. The three other vice-captains are Ramsey, Özil and Xhaka so with Aaron just starting training again we'll likely see Granit Xhaka take the armband today.

How Arsenal will play remains to be seen. We're entering new territory but nonetheless it is exciting territory. 

LAST THREE Meetings

  • Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City (01.03.2018)
  • Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City (25.02.2018)
  • Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal (05.11.2017)

FACTFILE

  • 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).

INJURIES 

Ramsey, Monreal, Koscielny and Kolasinac are out.

POSSIBLE STARTING XI

Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Torreira, Mkhitaryan, Özil; Lacazette, Aubameyang.

GOONERSPHERE'S PREDICTION

1-1.

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