Premier League: Arsenal vs. Man City team news, predictions, starting XIs, TV

Unai Emery faces Pep Guardiola’s champions in his first match as Arsenal manager

Unai Emery was appointed as Arsenal head coach in May 2018
Unai Emery was appointed as Arsenal head coach in May 2018
(Image credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal vs. Manchester City

  • When: Sunday 12 August
  • Where: Emirates Stadium, London
  • Kick-off time: 4pm
  • TV channel: live on Sky Sports

Arsenal host Manchester City on Sunday in the most eagerly-awaited clash of the Premier League opening weekend - and there’s no doubt the pressure is heaviest on the hosts’ shoulders.

For the first time in 22 years there will be a manager other than Arsene Wenger in the Gunners dugout and Unai Emery will be given little time to find his feet by the notoriously impatient Arsenal faithful.

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Defeat to City and away at Chelsea a week later would not sit well with supporters who haven’t responded positively to the announcement earlier in the week that Stan Kroenke was taking full control of the club.

There is a general belief that Arsenal are heading in the wrong direction off the field and if Emery doesn’t get results quickly on the field the unrest that characterised the final years of Wenger’s reign will return.

Outstanding against Chelsea

Former Arsenal star turned pundit Paul Merson believes the visitors will be too strong at the Emirates, particularly given the manner of their 2-0 win in last week’s Community Shield final.

“If you had asked me last Saturday I’d have fancied Arsenal, but City were outstanding last weekend against Chelsea,” Merson told Sky Sports. “I feel with the new manager, there will be a plan this time from Arsenal, whereas last year they got absolutely rinsed. But I think City will have too much for them.”

9-1 on aggregate

Recent history supports Merson’s prediction with City winning their three matches last season 9-1 on aggregate (including 3-0 in the League Cup final).

Arsenal have used the summer to strengthen their defence, bringing in German keeper Bernd Leno and two defenders in Switzerland skipper Stephan Lichtsteiner and Greek blocker Sokratis Papastathopoulos but will they be able to hold back a side that scored a record 106 league goals last season (22 more than their nearest rival)?

City manager Pep Guardiola is seeking to become the first man to guide his club to back-to-back Premier League titles since Alex Ferguson achieved the feat with Manchester United in 2008 and 2009.

City are favourites

Will he do it? Yes, believe 21 of 24 pundits canvassed by BBC Sport with only Ian Wright, Ruud Gullit and Martin Keown going against the tide in picking Liverpool to win the title.

“City will win the Premier League again because of Pep,” predicted Alan Shearer. “He won’t want their standards slipping. He will play exactly the same way and they are going to be very hard to stop, although I think Liverpool and United will both be a lot closer to them this time.”

City had a relatively quiet transfer window with the arrival of winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for £65m their only major acquisition, and Guardiola is pleased with the way he’s adapted.

“He needs time to understand a little bit what we are looking for because he came from a club where they play completely differently,” said Guardiola. “I think he is ready.”

Team news and starting XIs

Arsenal team news

Aaron Ramsey has returned to full training with Arsenal after missing the recent pre-season friendlies with a calf injury, and the Welsh midfielder is expected to feature in some capacity on Sunday.

The BBC reports that left-back Nacho Monreal is a doubt because of a knee injury. Injured duo Sead Kolasinac and Laurent Koscielny are out for the long term.

Emery could give debuts to summer signings Leno, Lucas Torreira and Papastathopoulos.

Manchester City team news

Guardiola says City’s World Cup players will be available for selection, Sky Sports reports. England forward Raheem Sterling may not be fully fit to face Arsenal, but new winger Mahrez and left-back Benjamin Mendy should play.

Predicted starting XIs

How the teams could line up according to the London Evening Standard:

  • Arsenal XI: Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles; Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan; Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette
  • Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Kompany, Mendy; Fernandinho, B. Silva, Foden; Mahrez, Sane, Aguero

Arsenal vs. Man City predictions

Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport: “0-2. While Emery might not work out his best team for a few weeks, we know all about City - who looked very smooth in their win over Chelsea in the Community Shield last weekend. City should win this game too.”

Paul Merson, Sky Sports: “Arsenal 1 Man City 3. I think City will have too much for them. With these Arsenal players on the training ground, you’ve got to make drills monotonous to really ram home the message, but I don’t think they’ve had the time yet.”

Alec Shilton, The Sun: “2-2. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been in the goals [for Arsenal] in pre-season. But City won last season’s Prem clashes by an aggregate scored of 6-1 and it’s hard to imagine that they won’t register a couple.”

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