It took only fourteen minutes for the new wave of optimism at Arsenal to come crashing down as Raheem Sterling beat two men to fire past a hapless Petr Cech in the opening game of the season. It was all too easy and a scenario that has played out all too often at the Emirates over the last few years. City picked Arsenal apart at will and favoured the left-hand side where a shell-shocked Maitland-Niles was left to try and halt a rampaging Kyle Walker.
It was the old cliche of men vs boys and in fairness, Arsenal looked every bit as fragile as they did under Wenger. It prompted Gary Neville who was on commentary with Martin Tyler to lend his sympathy to new boss Unai Emery by saying it will take ‘three or four transfer windows’ for the Spaniard to fix Arsenal’s chronic problems at the back.
It’s hard to disagree with the former Manchester United player and there could have been a few who underestimated the sheer size of the problems facing Arsenal. Emery won’t be here to provide a quick fix but, instead, try and build a team over the next few seasons that is capable of ruling English football once again.
Among all Arsenal players vs. Man City, Matteo Guendouzi recorded:
• Most touches (72)
• Most passes attempted (47)
• Most fouls won (3)
Promising Premier League debut from the 19-year-old. pic.twitter.com/964nl2XphO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 12, 2018
That’s not to say that Arsenal should be allowed to meander through the season and pick up points where they can. The squad that Emery currently has available to him is good enough to push for a Europa League spot and that should be the set goal. It’s not often fans of the Gunners are able to say that they won’t be Premier League winners after one game but when looking at it objectively after the loss to City, you’re forced to admit that this squad will ultimately suffer a similar fate to that of Wenger’s last season.
That seems to be the general consensus from fans and pundits across the land with Arsenal backed as high as 79/1 in the Premier League outrights odds on the Betfair exchange. With that in mind, it doesn’t have to be a wasted season and once the baptism of fire ends, Emery’s philosophy will become a lot clearer.
The fixture list has done the new boss no favours either by having to play Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening two games but there is a chance to build some momentum once the trip to Stamford Bridge is out of the way. It is an absolute must that the Emirates faithful stand by Emery regardless of how frustrating the next few months could be.
— Unai Emery (@UnaiEmery_) May 23, 2018
After having gone so long without success in the Premier League, it’s easy to become impatient when the same mistakes are perceived to be made again but, in reality, it will take a massive effort to change the mentality Wenger left at the club.
Lowering the expectations may be an easier way to survive the season for fans of the Gunners as Emery tries to implement his own ideas. If the Gunners can fire back and get to Christmas in the top six, then it would have been a solid opening start to the campaign.