Arsenal v Man. City: Emery sets sight on Pep's squad


Michael Cox looks at the tactics, Alan Thompson provides the betting lowdown.

This might worry Arsenal fans who are optimistic after the exit of Wenger but if the mettle they have shown during their preseason matches is anything to go by, then his first match on English soil against Pep promises to be a cracker. Although Emery failed to record a victory against Guardiola during that four-year period, his tactical approach often caused serious problems in the first halves of matches.

According to Jose Alvarez, City's medical staff have determined that El Mago is fit to play, but not in peak condition, and with the in-form Bernardo Silva and teenage prodigy Phil Foden available, Pep Guardiola may not risk the Spaniard from the start against Arsenal.

Arsenal will be without Sead Kolasinac.

City broke several records last season, most points, most goals scored, biggest title-winning margin but it will be more hard for them this season.

Centre-back Laurent Koscielny will miss the fixture as well. Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, will need all his speed against Leroy Sane.

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Will Bernardo Silva become a Manchester City regular this season? He was due to play against Chelsea in the club's penultimate pre-season friendly match but was injured in the warm-up. Sergio Aguero hit the ground running with a brace in the Community Shield win and will lead the line against Arsenal. Kyle Walker will overlap more for City than for England, where he was shifted inside into a back three.

Considering a 4-2-3-1 formation, Emery is set to go with a central defensive partnership of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi.

He'll be among the players Arsenal will have to keep a close eye on if they're to stand any chance of getting a result. Ederson, meanwhile, has a very long kick he's not afraid to showcase, despite City's focus on possession.

A cynic might suggest Emery's feat of winning the Europa League three years in a row with Sevilla was the most relevant achievement on his CV prior to his appointment at Arsenal - who will compete in Europe's second-tier competition for a second successive season. In an ideal world both would start but I'm not sure we can afford that luxury against a team like Man City.

He faces a Guardiola who is now fully into the swing of things at Manchester City and had an unparalleled domestic campaign a year ago where City racked up 100 points.

Unai Emery has been speaking ahead of Arsenal's first match of the 2018-19 Premier League season.