After strolling to the Premier League title in some style, and hitting the hundred point barrier with virtually the last kick of the season at Southampton, City returned to action with the traditional season opener at Wembley, where Chelsea awaited in the Community Shield.
The blues showed no signs of fatigue from the gruelling World Cup schedule, in which both England and Belgium reached the semi-final, as the brushed FA Cup winners Chelsea aside with relative ease, giving a glimpse of what was to come in the new season.
City rested Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, while Vincent Kompany started on the bench. Injury prone Benjamin Mendy started, as did teenager Phil Foden, who struck an immediate partnership with Bernardo Silva in the middle.
And it was the former who was instrumental in City’s first goal. Receiving a pass inside the Chelsea half, Foden ran unchallenged to the edge of the Chelsea box, before passing to Aguero, who rifled home with his left foot. It was all too easy for City, who seemed to want to avoid any sort of challenge on Foden, allowing the youngster acres of space to pick out Aguero.
Chelsea, who started with Jorginho, the man who joined the Stamford Bridge side ahead of City in the summer, didn’t have much of a reply, although Claudio Bravo in the City goal almost did it for the, mis-judging a pass forward which bounced over him, but the Chilean recovered in time to prevent an embarrassing equaliser.
Aguero missed a chance to make it 2-0 early in the second half, hitting the side netting after rounding Caballero, but the striker made amends in the 58th minute. John Stones broke a Chelsea move, and a lightning break saw Silva play in Aguero, and the striker made no mistake this time.
The blues created more chances, but ultimately, they were not required as City lifted their first silverware of the season.
Final Score: Chelsea 0-2 Manchester City
12th August 2018 - Arsenal
The blues travelled to Arsenal for the opening league game of the season. Despite winning 3-0 in this fixture the previous season, The Emirates, as well as Highbury, was never a happy hunting ground for the blues. It was the first match for Arsenal with long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, and new boss Unai Emery was under pressure in front of the home supporters for the first time to get a result against the champions.
The blues again left de Bruyne on the bench and gave a debut to new signing Riyad Mahrez, while Raheem Sterling returned to the starting line up. And it was the England winger who opened the scoring after just fourteen minutes. Sterling had already threatened the Arsenal goal, dancing his way into the box and past the defence before firing over. Arsenal failed to heed the warning and Sterling punished them by curling his shot beyond the keeper from the edge of the area to score his 50th Premier League goal.
City were denied a second by Petr Cech, but there was no stopping City’s second. Benjamin Mendy raided down the left and cut the ball back for Bernardo to hit a left foot shot beyond Cech to make the game safe.
It was a big statement from City. Beating a fellow top six side on their own ground on the opening day sent warning signs out to the rest of the league that if anyone wanted to take their title away, they would have to fight the blues all the way.
Final Score: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
The relegation fighting Terriers had denied City a title lifting win when these two teams met last season. The blues would lift the trophy at the end of the match, but Huddersfield played the part of party pooper on that occasion. This time, they wouldn’t be so lucky.
The blues started with Aguero and Jesus up front and left Sterling, Sane and Mahrez on the bench, but City had been rocked by the news that key midfielder Kevin de Bruyne had picked up an injury in training and would be assessed the following week, with no indication of how long he would be out for. It mattered not as an unlikely source took over the pass master role.
Goalkeeper Ederson’s pinpoint pass found Aguero and the striker lifted the ball over the keeper to give the blues the lead. Six minutes later it was 2-0. Benjamin Mendy mauraded forward and played in Jesus, who played the ball back to the full back. Mendy was tackled, but the ball fell to Jesus, who rifled home from just inside the area. And just four minutes later, Aguero made it 3-0. Mendy’s first time cross was spilled by the keeper and into the path of Aguero, who punished the keeper with his second goal of the game. Huddersfield pulled a goal back whenStankovic poked in from close range to send the blues in 3-1 up at half time.
But City started the second half where they left off from the first. On 48 minutes, the blues won a free kick, which David Silva hammered over the wall and into the top corner with the keeper rooted to the spot. Aguero completed his first hat-trick of the season on 75 minutes, with Mendy again the provider. His cross was met by the Argentine, who cheekily flicked the ball beyond the keeper to make it 5-1. Leroy Sane replaced Aguero a minute later, and the German winger set up the final goal of the game. Racing into the area, Sane’s shot hit the keeper and rebounded off the defender to send City top of the league on goal difference from Chelsea.
Final Score: Manchester City 6-1 Huddersfield Town
25th August – Wolverhampton Wanderers
For the final game in August, the blues travelled to the Black Country to face newly promoted Wolves. The home side were tipped to do well in their first season back in the top flight, but had drawn and lost their two opening matches.
It would prove to be a tough test for the blues, who were matched by their hosts and held to a goalless draw at the break. Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling both hit the woodwork, while the home side had a goal correctly ruled out for offside.
But it was a controversial goal that gave the home side the lead. Willy Boly attempted to head Joao Moutinho’s free kick, but the ball clearly struck his hand and was diverted into the goal. With City players appealing for handball, the referee turned and pointed to the centre circle, to the anger of the travelling City fans. Ruben Neves then got away with bringing down David Silva in the penalty area, before the blues equalised in the 69th minute. Ilkay Gundogan’s free kick was met powerfully by the head of defender Aymeric Laporte, who thumped the ball home to make it 1-1.
Aguero again hit the bar in the final minute, but it was a well-deserved point for Wolves, who had pushed City all the way. Not many teams over the next eight months could say the same.
Final score: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester City