Arsenal faces the toughest test in the first match-week of Premier League, as they face defending champions Manchester City.
Arsenal take on defending champions Manchester City in matchday 1 of Premier League 2018/19. New boss Unai Emery will be hoping to grab three points on his competitive debut but is sure about the match on Sunday being amongst his most difficult ones.
Manchester City are currently unstoppable and that was seen in the FA Community Shield. Unai Emery has reason for optimism having already gotten one over Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri and Thomas Tuchel of Paris Saint-Germain.
Arsenal have made several experiments with their lineups in pre-season, but we predict a side that we can see from the first whistle at the Emirates Stadium.
Bernd Leno was signed from Bayer Leverkusen this summer. Meanwhile, Petr Cech performed superbly in the pre-season matches. While the former Czech international’s inclusion as a starter would come as no surprise, my money is on Bernd Leno to get his first official start.
Sokratis shall be the ideal man to face City’s high pressure. The Greek does not get flustered and pass back, something which is important for Arsenal against a quick City side. Shkodran Mustafi will be likely to partner the new signing in central defence. The former Valencia man can break the lines. Hector Bellerin is expected to have a super season from the off due to competition from Stephan Lichtsteiner.
The Spaniard can be expected to have the nod ahead of the Swiss veteran. Sead Kolasinac’s injury means that Nacho Monreal is the go-to option at left back. Some have backed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to play that role, however, playing a young player out of his position in such a big game can prove to be costly.
Arsenal boast a new look midfield and will be likely to give Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira a start. Granit Xhaka has been brilliant at defensive midfield in the last few years and can be vested with the authority of playing just ahead of the defence.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey’s summer has been marred by rumours surrounding his exit. Nevertheless, him and the club are still on good terms. His attacking and defensive contribution could see him get a start in a three man midfield.
Arsenal’s attacking options are plenty and Unai Emery could be the right man to get the best out of every player. While some did argue about playing two strikers, history claims that Emery prefers three at the top. Germany international Mesut Ozil is fresh since his nation’s disastrous World Cup campaign. Having already featured in the friendlies, there is a high chance of him claiming the right wing role. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been a brilliant signing after Alexis Sanchez’s departure in January. His linkup play is great. Hence, the Armenian is the favourite to play on the left wing. Between the single spot between Aubameyang and Lacazette, the former is the best bet to occupy the striker’s role.
Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka, Ramsey; Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Do you think Arsenal line-up can get the better of Manchester City?