Arsenal vs Manchester City preview: 5 Talking points
The first match week of the English Premier League 2018-19 season has already kicked off and will conclude with a delightful fixture on Sunday night. Arsenal host champions Manchester City and will be looking to kick off their campaign on a positive note, while City will attempt to commence business as usual; much like they did against Chelsea a week ago.
Here are 5 major talking points ahead of the big game:
#1 Can Emery make a statement of intent?
What better way to announce your arrival in the Premier League than by beating the current record-breaking champions. While the prospect of that happening may sound mouth-watering to Emery(and Arsenal fans alike) it's going to take a special performance to turn that into reality, and even that may not cut it.
There is no denying that Arsenal, through the likes of Aubameyang and Lacazette, do possess the firepower capable of unlocking City's defense. However, Emery needs to come up with a pragmatic tactical strategy and, perhaps more importantly, needs to inspire his players to emulate the same on the field.
#2 Center-back pairing for Manchester City
Guardiola will most likely start with a four-man defence, and it will be interesting to see which centre back pairing the manager opts for, with Walker and Mendy set to start at either side of the back four.
John Stones, who had an impressive World Cup campaign, and Aymeric Laporte started against Chelsea and Sarri's men barely had a sniff. Vincent Kompany and Nicholas Otamendi are also fit, but Stones and Laporte have been solid enough and deserve a run-out together.
#3 Welbeck at left-back?
There is a bit of a left-back crisis at Arsenal at the moment. Sead Kolasinac picked up an injury in pre-season and Nacho Monreal has only just returned to full training. Ludicrous as it may seem, Emery has been experimenting with Danny Welbeck filling that role in training.
While most coaches would, in such a situation, look to the academy for a temporary solution, the Arsenal manager is seriously considering playing the Welbeck out of position. It would certainly be bizarre watching the England star plying his trade at left-back, and equally surprising should he excel at that role.
#4 Selection dilemma for Guardiola
This is the kind of dilemma that most managers in the world would yearn for, and Pep Guardiola faces it almost every other week. Raheem Sterling is back in contention for a starting role at right wing.
Although it seems like Mahrez should start, for now, given that he featured extensively all pre-season. Kevin de Bruyne is also back in the mix, which may not be the best news for young Phil Foden, who has shone all pre-season; especially in the community shield.
Although young Foden may get a run-out, as David Silva has reportedly not travelled with the squad. Bernado Silva and Leroy Sane are both expected to start, as is Sergio Aguero ahead of Gabriel Jesus. One hell of a dilemma, isn't it?
#5 Will Aubameyang and Lacazette start together?
Lacazette starting would probably mean Aubameyang operating from the left, which may not go down well with some Arsenal fans. However, Arsenal have looked a better side in pre-season with both the strikers playing.
Henrikh Mkhitarian may feature in place of Lacazette, so it remains to be seen whether Emery will choose to start both his star strikers against the champions.