How did the Champions kick off their defence?
The Premier League was back this weekend and if you thought there would be some form of hangover from a World Cup summer then you couldn’t have been more wrong. 22 goals across the 9 opening round of fixtures and all games bar one managed at least 2 goals. You could forgive the majority of football fans for thinking that we were well into the season as the opening round wasn’t short of a few contentious decisions and talking points for fans and pundits a like. Was Jagielka sent off for a rash tackle? Was it because he denied a clear goal scoring opportunity? Only the referee knows for sure, either way after a summer of VAR it begged the question as to whether the Premier League was right in delaying its introduction for a further year. This was highlighted even further yesterday when Arsenal were denied a clear penalty after Benjamin Mendy blocked Shkodran Mustafi with a clothesline in the 6 yard box. Michael Oliver waved play on as Manchester City cleared their lines and with it went any hope of Unai Emery recording any sort of positive result on his first competitive game in charge. Being a Manchester City fan one would think life had become a walk in the park following a record breaking season. Deciding which shirt to pull on for a game, whether to drive to a game or go on the train and enjoy a few pints with friends surely are the only stresses we have to contend with right? Wrong. The doubts for most will always be there, no matter how well we play, no matter how many records we break hitting that 40 point mark each year is still received with a welcome relief. Ok a slight exaggeration but you catch my drift, it can and still go wrong and the day we as fans become arrogant and sure is the day I fall out of love with football. Match Day 1- Arsenal Away Upon hearing the news Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva would again be missing from our starting line-up the doubts set in. 13 minutes in however those concerns eased as Raheem Sterling confidently cut in from the left flank and hit a low drive into the net, not into the postage stamp or one that sent Petr Cech’s water bottle flying in the corner but you can forgive the keeper for not reacting in time as he was unsighted from the on rushing Granit Xhaka who had been caught out of position. Arsenal didn’t really offer any form of threat, to City’s goal at least, Arsenal’s new found appetite for playing out from the back put them in some awkward moments, not least when Cech received a back pass only to play the ball just past his own post and out for a corner. The ironic cheers from the home supporters when his next goal kick went long was there for all to see and you could forgive them for wanting the full time whistle to blow. City looked comfortable in possession, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan looked at ease in the middle with Fernandinho supporting as reliably as ever. Their movement and little intricate passes go unnoticed by most but as is the way Pep Guardiola likes to play this is key to the success of the team. Bernardo added a second in the 64th minute just as Arsenal showed signs of a threat following the introduction of Alexander Lacazette and with that went any real hope of a comeback. Ederson showed signs of rustiness with a few stray passes late on but this was after all his first game in 3 months and with only a week of training under his belt he gets a let off this week. John Stones picked up where he left off following an excellent World Cup with a calm and assured display and as for Aymeric Laporte well it is anyone’s guess why he wasn’t at the World Cup with France. I would put that alongside Germany’s decision to exclude Leroy Sane from their 23 man squad, his range of passing is excellent and his timing of tackles is superb, the two together complement each other very well. New signing Riyad Mahrez showed glimpses of his potential in a City shirt, admittedly few and far between, a free kick from the edge of the area that drew a good save from Cech was the closest he came to a first goal from the Citizens. The final whistle blew to a half Empty Emirates stadium as Manchester City earned a well-deserved 3 points and got their title defence off to a good start. Today I hope marks the first of many articles I will write from CloudSports Football. My aim is to cover mostly team news throughout the season and any on goings in and around the club that I believe may be of interest. Next up for me will be a peace on the Manchester City team as a whole, what and who to look out for this season and, how I believe Guardiola aims to tackle the season and title defence a head. I have thoroughly enjoyed putting together my first peace which I hope you all enjoy to. Here’s to another action packed season ahead.