Unai Emery's Gunners looked set to pose City a stern test, but their resistance lasted just 14 minutes before Sterling made his mark.
The winger cut inside from the left flank and turned Arsenal's defence inside-out before firing past Petr Cech.
It was a fine strike, and the perfect response from Sterling after failing to show his best football with England at this summer's World Cup.
The goal also marked a personal milestone for the 23-year-old star, who played a key role in City's Premier League triumph in 2017-18.
Sterling now has 50 Premier League goals, a figure he has reached in 193 games.
50 - Raheem Sterling has scored 50 Premier League goals, with his strike against Arsenal only his third from outside the box. Bullseye. pic.twitter.com/ZNrwYRh0oa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 12 de agosto de 2018
That less than prolific strike-rate, however, does not tell the story of a massive improvement in front of goal since Pep Guardiola took over at the Etihad.
Having scored just 18 goals in 95 league outings for Liverpool, his subsequent 98 outings have yielded 32 goals.
And, if Sunday's Premier League opener is anything to go by, there should be plenty more to come for Sterling after marking a personal best season last term with 18 league strikes.