Sterling proved to be City's creative fulcrum, but he was fortunate to escape with a yellow card for a studs-up foul on Arsenal debutant Matteo Guendouzi in the early stages.
The pair missed the Community Shield last week after returning to training late following the World Cup.
"The first half we didn't play like we wanted".
Purring from the early periods, City picked up from last season's success by disposing of a top six rival on the opening weekend.
It was a baptism of fire for new Arsenal manager Unai Emery, who was left in no uncertain terms about the gulf in quality between his resources and those Guardiola at Guardiola's disposal. "In every competition we play we must try to win". Manchester City are fresh on the back of a 2-0 win against Chelsea and will hope to carry that momentum going into the game against the Gunners. This wasn't their greatest ever performance, but the fact they were so comfortable against a side that would realistically be wanting to challenge them, is paramount of just how good this Manchester City team is.
And Guardiola twisted the knife by insisting City are still some way from their peak.
Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil all showed familiar flaws, and they were not the only ones to struggle.
Taliban launch attack on Afghan city, casualties
The city of about 140,000 people was in lockdown as residents stayed indoors and reported sporadic gunfire. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed parts of Ghazni had been seized and scores of people killed.
"We spoke about this before the game. they know they can do it".
"It's a little frustrating to lose but we are a new team", he said.
Benjamin Mendy has been playing down the left halfspace in an inverted manner, helping City out while in possession by moving forward high up the pitch.
The France global missed most of last season with an injury and Guardiola admitted his return is still a work in progress.
"We finished with the spirit I want". Perhaps we'll see more from him when Lucas Torreira is installed as his regular partner. 19-year-old Metteo Guendouzi was provided his first competitive start following his summer move from Ligue 2 side Lorient and the youngster seemed confident, happy to drop deep and regularly provide a passing option to his defenders. "And today is the first step in that".
"The team, for 90 minutes, they ran, they tried, they pushed, but we need to improve all collective and individual aspects".
"We feel that we could have got something from the game", Cech told BBC Sport.