Arsenal vs Manchester City preview, betting tip and prediction: Unai Emery faces a Premier League baptism of fire.

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Arguably the most enticing fixture of the opening Premier League weekend sees Arsenal hosting champions Manchester City. It’s a new era for the Gunners with Unai Emery in the dugout after legendary gaffer Arsene Wenger finally decided to step down as boss, jumping before he was pushed. Having Wenger in charge for so long made Arsenal a predictable outfit.

Things had become stale at the club. An injection of fresh ideas was necessary. Emery is the man tasked with doing that. He arrives off the back of two years in France with PSG that will ultimately be remembered for his failures despite picking up a basket of domestic honours. Expectations won’t be so high at Arsenal and, judging by his Sevilla days, it might be fair to assume that Emery performs better with an underdog. He faces a familiar opponent in Pep Guardiola, the two facing off numerous times in their La Liga days. Despite ten games being played between the two of them, Emery is yet to find a win over his Catalan rival.

Riyad Mahrez playing for Manchester City in Premier League - Free Bets Uk

While this Arsenal side is an unknown quantity under Emery, City won’t fear anyone. Why should they? They dropped points in just six games last season. They broke the 100 goal barrier in a season that saw them pick up a century of points. City were formidable and it will be hard for them to match those achievements. They are the team to beat and their title rivals will fight tooth and nail to ensure that they don’t finish 19 points ahead of their closest challengers this time around.

City have only strengthened since that title victory, adding Riyad Mahrez from Leicester for £60 million. He featured in the club’s 2-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield, a game that will have reminded everyone of how strong City are. They was a comfortable barrier of quality between the two teams. We expect City to be tested by an attacking, dynamic Arsenal side. The Gunners have been involved in seven-goal thrillers on the last two opening days, winning one against Leicester and losing to Liverpool the year before. Expect another goal-fest here.

Team news

A few new faces could be fielded by Emery for his debut fixture. Veteran full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, defensive screen Lucas Torreira and rookie midfielder Matteo Guendouzi are the likeliest to start. A decision must be made on who starts between the posts with new boy Bernd Leno challenging Petr Cech. Mesut Ozil has looked reinvigorated in pre-season and will most likely start in a quartet with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Sergio Aguero is set to lead the line again for City after his clinical brace in the win over Chelsea. Aymeric Laporte and John Stones were the defensive pairing who coped so well with (the admittedly out-of-form) Alvaro Morata in that Community Shield victory. Riyad Mahrez also played well on the right side of the attack. Six changes were made in that game by Guardiola so all players involved are fresh and available. Whether his other World Cup stars will be included in the squad is uncertain.

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