Manchester City defeated Arsenal in the opening week of Premier League 18/19 by a convincing scoreline of 0-2 but were City at their best? No.
The champions started the game at a good tempo and their goals were magnificent but there were spells where Arsenal could have done a bit more to create chances. It’s a work in progress for Unai Emery but he doesn’t have much time. He needs at least a short-term fix as they travel to Stamford Bridge to play against Chelsea on Matchweek two.
What are the three changes Unai Emery should make?
#3 Granit Xhaka should not be in the starting XI
The Swiss international has been a regular player for Arsenal since his arrival but has failed to imprint his quality in the team. He neither contributes to the attack as a number 10 nor does he sit back to protect his defence. Critics have pointed out many times that his failure to close down spaces in front of the defence has often led to the opposition’s goal (just like Raheem Sterling’s goal the other day).
With Lucas Torreira now in the squad, the Uruguayan should be given the role to anchor the midfield. Ramsey could play in a deeper role, alongside Torreira thus lending better balance to the team.
#2 Stephan Lichtsteiner in the left-back position
The veteran right-back was forced to come off the bench when Ainsley Maitland-Niles got injured after a foot race with Kyle Walker. The former Juventus full-back dealt with the danger of Mahrez and Walker with great composure. With Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac out injured, he can be a sound replacement for the time being.
Hector Bellerin will be the first-choice right back for Unai Emery considering his attacking impetus. Lichtsteiner won’t get to start every match in that position so he should make the most of his chances at the other side of the defence.
#1 Lacazette leading the attack with Ozil just behind him
The Frenchman came off the bench in the 54th minute and almost scored the equalizer for Arsenal. He also missed a half-chance to score late in the game but his advent brought positivity to the team. He should be given a starting berth alongside Aubamayeng who can switch to the left-hand side. They both can add the finishing touches to Mkhitaryan’s and Ozil’s creativity.
Mesut Özil should get the chance to play in the number 10 role. That position brings the best out of him while pushing him wide to the wings clearly limits his abilities. Mkhitaryan will be better suited on the right wing to accommodate the German.