Mikel Arteta targeted two Arsenal players with tactical switch in Man City victory

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There was opening day frustration for Unai Emery in his first game as Arsenal manager.

The north Londoners were dealt a cruel hand in the fixtures, drawing champions Manchester City in the opening game and struggled against Pep Guardiola's seemingly omnipotent side.

In truth, Arsenal never applied pressure on their opponents for great spells of the game and were frustrated by their opponents at the Emirates Stadium.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for City in the first-half, continuing his brilliant form from last season with a sweet run and finish past Petr Cech.

Arsenal did perk up after the interval yet any suggestions of a resurgence were quashed when Bernardo Silva doubled City's advantage with a superb strike.

Arsenal 0-2 Man City

It leaves the Gunners in a negative headspace and with their next game proving a trip to Stamford Bridge, there's no respite for the new manager. 

However, there are some alterations he can make in the meantime and there was no shortage of criticism concerning Emery's tactics on Sunday.

The Spaniard will struggle to implement his style of football on Arsenal so quickly, but there were apparent flaws during the City defeat.

Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League

Arteta targeted two Arsenal players

These weaknesses were certainly picked up by the Manchester City bench and a certain Mikel Arteta, according to the Telegraph.

Sources have informed the broadsheet that Arteta had suggested a very specific tactical tweak to Guardiola that directly resulted in Silva scoring City's second goal.

Television cameras saw Guardiola turning to thank Arteta after the ball hit the back of the net, acknowledging that his advice had worked.

The Spanish coach planned to exploit Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil by moving Sterling to the left, loading Arsenal's wide areas with pacy forwards.

It worked to devastating effect in the second-half and it must be wondered whether Arteta's research into Arsenal this summer - in anticipation of a job offer - helped him to make this switch.

The alteration also proves food for thought for Emery who could leave his his full-backs under pressure when Ozil and Mkhitaryan are pressing high against pace.

Nevertheless, just one game into the season, and the whole operation remains one big learning curve.

Arsenal v Chelsea - International Champions Cup 2018

The race for the top four looks a truly daunting task in 2018-19 and Emery can't be expected to stamp any sort of authority when his opening games are against City and Chelsea.

A point at Stamford Bridge, or maybe more, would steady the ship this weekend before Arsenal can plot a run of victories under Wenger's replacement.

Where do you think Arsenal will finish this season? Have your say in the comments section below.

Unai Emery
Bernardo Silva
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Pep Guardiola
Raheem Sterling
Mesut Özil
Premier League
David Silva
Petr Cech
Manchester City

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