Man City Begins Title Defence with Win at Arsenal
*Salah on target as Liverpool hammers West Ham 4-0
Manchester City got their Premier League title defence off to a winning start with a deserved victory over an Arsenal side playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger since 1996.
Elsewhere, Liverpool got their new season campaign off the ground with a 4-0 defeat of West Ham at Anfield.
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.
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.
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 goal-scorer 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.
Earlier, Mohamed Salah got Liverpool up and running as they comfortably dispatched West Ham in their first Premier League fixture of the season.
The Egyptian tapped in a 19th-minute opener from Andy Robertson’s cross on his return to action for the Reds at Anfield.
It took the visitors almost half an hour to fashion a chance of note as they struggled to stem the Liverpool attacking tide.
Liverpool’s new goalkeeper Alisson, signed for £66.8m from Roma in the summer, comfortably saved a Fabian Balbuena header, one of only two efforts on target for the