Manchester City v Arsenal opener key for Premier League champions, says Shaun Goater

Former Manchester City striker Shaun Goater believes the club’s trip to Arsenal on the opening day of the 2018/19 Premier League season is “really important,” as the bid to defend their Premier League title begins.

The reigning champions travel to the Emirates for new Arsenal manager Unai Emery’s first competitive match in charge.

“It’s about starting well,” says Goater. “City [will] want to get out of the blocks and then try and gain momentum from there.”

Boss Pep Guardiola has never lost to Emery in 10 meetings – including six victories – with Goater adding: “City will be looking to win that first game, which I think is really important.”

Manchester City face four of last season’s top-seven in October and November, so will be looking for a fast start.

Guardiola will look to retain the Premier League title for the first time since Manchester United in 2008/09.

2:55 Highlights of when Arsenal met Manchester City in the league last season

“Not many teams can go and win [the Premier League] back to back and that will be, I think, his first priority,” Goater added.

Goater sees Liverpool – particularly after their domestic and European endeavours with City last season – as another interesting opponent.

“Two great managers, two great teams, they play an exciting brand of football,” he added. “Fans will be really looking forward to it.

“Klopp will be thinking ‘can we get another one over on Pep?’ and deep down Pep will be thinking ‘not this time round’.”

City play Liverpool on 6 October (A) and 1 January (H). A full list of Manchester City’s 2018/19 Premier League fixtures is available here.