Men’s Team

Arsenal 0-2 City: Bernardo and Walker excel

TALKING POINTS: City won at Arsenal with plenty to spare
Manchester City’s title defence got off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates.

Club journalist Rob Pollard has taken a look back at some of the game’s big talking points.

1Plenty to spare

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of City’s comfortable win over Arsenal was the ease of it.

Pep Guardiola’s side weren’t, at any stage, playing at their maximum, but were still superior to the hosts in every department.

Yes, Unai Emery needs time to return Arsenal to their formidable form of old, but this is still a team full of high-calibre international stars and City managed to deal with them without getting out of third gear.

City were sharp, inventive and, at times, devastating – but there’s plenty more to come.

READ: Match Report | Arsenal 0-2 City

READ: Interview | Bernardo Silva

2Strength in depth

City’s bench at the Emirates was perhaps the strongest in Premier League history, underlining the plentiful options available to Guardiola this season.

With the signing of Riyad Mahrez, the return to fitness of Benjamin Mendy, the improvement in Aymeric Laporte and the emergence of Phil Foden, City suddenly have world-class options in every position.

And, lest we forget, yesterday’s squad saw us missing the likes of David Silva and Fabian Delph.

WATCH: Arsenal v Man City: Extended highlights

3Bernardo’s brilliance

When City signed Bernardo Silva last summer, plenty was expected from the man who delivered one of the finest performances from a visiting player when Monaco came to the Etihad in February 2017. 

He was sublime that night and City struggled to handle him; his touch, vision and ability to control the pace of a game saw him pick us apart time and again. Indeed, that performance is likely to have been key in Guardiola’s decision to bring him to Manchester.

His first few months saw him struggle to transition, but in the second-half of last season he emerged as a key player.

This season, he appears to be moving up a level again.

Much like in the Community Shield last weekend, Bernardo was brilliant against Arsenal. His work-rate, passing and technical quality were too much for the home side to handle. His goal – a brilliant first-time strike into the top corner – topped off a stunning performance.

WATCH: Arsenal 0-2 City: Bernardo reaction

4The hunger is there

Defending the Premier League title has been difficult in recent seasons. In fact, not since Manchester United won three on the bounce between 2007-09 has a side retained their crown.

Three of the last four title winners have finished outside the top four in the following campaign, a remarkable statistic that underlines the need to keep improving.

Hunger and desire are key, and on the evidence of what we saw at the Emirates, this City squad has both in spades.

It comes from the top. Pep Guardiola, a perfectionist and the finest tactician in the game, constantly demands more. He’s made it clear to his players they will have to raise their game if we want to keep our rivals at arm’s length.

Can we become the first team in a decade to win back-to-back titles?

5Walker’s impetus

One of the most impressive aspects of City’s victory was Kyle Walker’s marauding performance from right-back.

The England man has incredible pace and energy, and he got forward at every opportunity to supplement City’s attacks.

First and foremost, he’s a fine defender who rarely lets his opposite number have any joy, but it’s perhaps his ability going forward that is most spectacular.

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