No livestreams, City TV not working, conceding a goal to Kitchee FC and scoring six goals sounds just like a normal day in the life of Manchester City. Here’s five things we learned from today’s penultimate pre-season friendly.
Sterling Up Top?
Today’s game once again saw our ‘starboy’ Raheem Sterling deployed in a striker role and took to it with ease linking up with the players around him and playing a hand in three of City’s goals.
Sterling’s goal was taken beautifully, after a lay-off from David Silva, he opened up his body before caressing the ball into the top corner. It’s more than likely that he will start at Wembley against Liverpool, with Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus arriving back in Manchester a few days before the game – despite some reports suggesting they’ll return earlier.
Despite the excellence of our two frontmen, having Sterling up top could bring huge benefits to our play. We could certainly not just rely on our winger’s ability on the ball, with Sterling’s array of tricks able to unlock even the tightest of defences.
Nabil Touaizi and Iker Pozo take a bow…
What a tour it has been so far for the Manchester City academy boys! Despite a strong starting line-up, Pep Guardiola gave opportunities to the majority of the youngsters off the bench in the second half.
The two that stood out were the scorers of City’s fifth and sixth goals – Iker Pozo and Nabil Touaizi. The first time I properly saw the latter was in an eleven goal thriller in the EDS’ first game of last season, which saw him bag a hat-trick in a 6-5 win for the Blues. He’s a clinical finisher, and it showed in his finish for the fifth goal. The Spaniard took a ball in the oppositions half into his stride before opening up his body to stroke the ball into the corner off the inside of the post.
Pozo’s goal was a much simpler finish, coming off the back of some brilliant work by another standout, Adrian Bernarbe, who cut inside before finding a shot which was saved – but only into the path of Pozo, who tapped home.
The XI for Liverpool tested?
With the exception of maybe the goalkeeper, it seems that the XI which started todays match might be the one we send out on August 4th in the Community Shield. The dynamic front three caused problems throughout the game and the ability to interchange positions at will was encouraging to see.
Kevin De Bruyne looked his thrilling best and seems to be fine-tuning his passing range for the upcoming season, which must be frightening every team in the country. David Silva seems to have put his patchy end-of-season form behind him, with another goalscoring performance today, and Leroy Sané added another £20 million to his price tag.
The KDB and Rodri double pivot?
Throughout the second-half, when Rodri was introduced to the game, I noticed Kevin De Bruyne sitting a bit deeper alongside the Spaniard and using his full passing range to his advantage. Could this be something we use in the future?
It would allow Gundogan, David Silva or even Foden more freedom to operate in front of the striker and use their creativity to pick the holes in the defences for our attackers to benefit. The Belgian will be raring to go after an injury ridden season last year and could be central to any success Guardiola’s City have in the 2019/20 season.
David Silva captain over De Bruyne?
An interesting thing to notice when the line-ups were announced is the captaincy. Both candidates for the role left by Vincent Kompany, in David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, were named in the starting XI together. However, it was the prior who was named captain. Is this a signal that they’ve chosen El Mago as the permanent holder of the armband?
I personally think when David Silva plays, he will take the captaincy. However, with the fact that the Spaniard may not feature as regularly this season, I still think KDB will eventually take permanent place as captain of Manchester City.
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