Premier League defending champions Manchester City, coming off a historic 100-point season, begin their season Sunday with a road test against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in London. City enter the season as the clear title favorites, while Arsenal hope for big things under new manager Unai Emery.
Emery, who takes over for Arsene Wenger, and after serving as manager of Paris Saint-Germain, praised Pep Guardiola and the City roster.
“After two years with Guardiola, they have more stability and security. When you watch their matches, they play with great confidence in themselves and also I think Guardiola’s coaching is clear in this team,” said Emery.
According to Bet365, City are favored to win the match at 10/11 odds. Arsenal have 3/1 odds of winning, while a draw is listed at 3/1.
Guardiola boasts another talented squad that includes holdovers Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany. City also added former Leicester City star midfielder Riyad Mahrez in the offseason.
There are plenty of new faces at Arsenal. Center back Sokratis Papastathopoulos and defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira are expected to be inserted into the starting lineup, as Arsenal bid farewell to Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere.
Veteran midfielder Aaron Ramsey is questionable for the match after suffering a calf injury, while Sead Kolasinac (knee) and Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) have been ruled out.
A young Arsenal player to watch for is Mattéo Guendouzi. The 19-year-old has been impressive in preseason and training, leading some to believe that he could play a key role for the club this season.
The match will be broadcast on NBCSN at 11 a.m ET. Arlo White and Kyle Martino will serve as commentators.
Projected Starting Lineups
D: Bellerin, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Maitland-Niles
M: Torreira, Ramsey, Xhaka, Ozil, Mkhitaryan
D: Mendy, Laporte, Otamendi, Walker
M: Fernandinho, Sane, D. Silva, B. Silva, Mahrez
Prediction: Expect both sides to play inspired football and go on the attack. City want to build off their spectacular 2017-18 season, while Arsenal will have the home crowd on their side and hope to gain some momentum with a strong showing against the defending champs.
City should prevail behind a more efficient midfield.
Predicted Score: Arsenal 1 – City 3