Emery's Arsenal to take on Guardiola’s juggernaut

Defending champion Manchester City will look for a positive start to its title defence against Unai Emery’s Arsenal on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will look to become the first manager since Sir Alex Ferguson to retain the Premier League title.   -  Getty Images

Manchester City will begin its title defence against Arsenal when the two sides lock horns at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Pep Guardiola’s City will look to continue its rampage from last season, while Emery’s Arsenal, for the first time in 21 years, will have a new face on the touchline after Arsene Wenger left the club at the end of last season.

Guardiola’s record breakers set out for a repeat

After spending his first season without any trophies, Guardiola was able to imprint his philosophy at Manchester City for the 2017-18 season and the Mancunians blazed away to the title breaking 14 records on the way. Pep's men, who won 18 games on trot last season with their first defeat coming in the 23rd game, will be expected to set the standard for the new season as well.

Guardiola – who will look to become the first manager since Sir Alex Ferguson to retain the Premier League title – is expecting a challenging season ahead.  “Of course we accept the challenge to win back-to-back, but what we have to do is to be ourselves. That is the main thing we have to try to do. Even when you are perfect, the other team can be better. I have played in finals when we were excellent and you lose, because the others are good teams as well. And here in England there are many,” he said ahead of the game against Arsenal.

Despite Guardiola preferring Gabriel Jesus upfront, Sergio Aguero once again proved his importance with a brace against Chelsea, which won City the Community Shield. Riyadh Mahrez, City’s only summer signing from Leicester City, is expected to make his league debut against the Gunners.

Lot expected out of Emery’s Arsenal

After enduring years of disappointments and false dawns, Arsenal fans will have their hopes pinned on Unai Emery’s tactics to revitalise the Gunners. The Spaniard wasted no time after arriving, signing Stephan Lichtsteiner, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bernd Leno and Lucas Torreira in the off-season. His gruelling training sessions have made it clear that his team will play a dynamic brand of football this season.

The optimistic build-up could quickly come under scrutiny if Arsenal loses the game. But Emery insists the priority will be to give something positive to Arsenal’s faithful.

“It's a great match to start this season. We need to show our performance on the pitch, but we want to first be together with our supporters. It helps, if we're together, for the players to show their best performance and to transmit with every supporter the quality, the energy and the spirit to go forward against Manchester City,” the former PSG manager said.

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