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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side will get even better as they deservedly beat Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Raheem Sterling scored his 50th Premier League goal to give City the lead


Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side will get even better as they deservedly beat Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League season.

The Gunners were playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger in charge since 1996 but were well beaten by the defending champions.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 14th minute when he got the ball on the corner of the box, cut beyond two players and rifled home from 20 yards.

Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut for City when his free-kick was saved by Petr Cech, who denied Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up.

It was always going to be a tough first game for Unai Emery at Arsenal and they had few clear-cut chances - with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Alexandre Lacazette shooting wide from outside the box.

City were brilliant in parts - and controlled in others - and killed off the game when Benjamin Mendy, who assisted both goals, pulled the ball back for Bernardo Silva to blast in a second.

"We have a lot of players with a lack of condition but we are more than two seasons together and know what to do," Guardiola told BBC Sport. "We made a good performance in general and day by day we will get better and better.

"I am privileged to be manager of Manchester City. They have given me a fantastic squad. I cannot complain for one minute."


City are the team to beat again

Pep Guardiola's City, who looked good in the 2-0 Community Shield win over Chelsea, were in fine form again. They only signed one first-team player - Mahrez in a £60m record deal - in the summer, and he went straight into their Premier League line-up.

Sterling, who was selected on the left wing over Leroy Sane, opened the scoring when he received a pass from Mendy, making his first Premier League start since September.

The England winger received the ball on the left corner of the box, beat Hector Bellerin and Matteo Guendouzi and then rifled a 20-yard shot past Cech, who must have been unsighted as he barely moved.

It was his 50th Premier League goal and a good start to the season after being harshly criticised during England's World Cup semi-final run.

"I couldn't wait for my holidays to finish," he told BBC Sport. "I needed to get back and I'm really happy I could be involved today. I wanted to play and it's great that we got three points."

By that stage Bernardo and Sterling had already had shots saved by Cech at his near post.

City kept pushing for a second goal that their performance deserved and went close when Arsenal's keeper denied Mahrez and Laporte.

Mahrez curled another shot just wide late in the first half. The Algerian put in a good performance on the right, and but was replaced by Kevin de Bruyne on the hour mark.

Record goalscorer Sergio Aguero should have had his 202nd City goal when he was played in one-on-one from the halfway line but he shot right at Cech - with De Bruyne free in the centre.

Bernardo finally sealed the points when he finished from Mendy's cutback.

City keeper Ederson played a few nervy passes late on - although Arsenal could not capitalise - and De Bruyne almost added a third with the last kick but Cech tipped his shot over.

"Every season is a major season and this game was complicated but we played at a high level. We created a lot of chances and our performance was good. We keep going," said Guardiola.

"We are satisfied for many, many reasons.

"At 1-0 we found a goal maybe we didn't deserve but in the first half we deserved to score two or three more."


By Emlyn Begley
  BBC Sport


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