Manchester City will kick off their season with the Community Shield game against Chelsea on Sunday. The Sky Blues have had a fairly consistent and uneventful pre-season in the US.
The number of City stars representing their country in the World Cup was at an all-time high this year. And understandably, a number of first team stars have just joined the team with Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne yet to report.
New signing, Riyad Mahrez, has got some useful minutes under his belt in pre-season. But his injury scare last week will surely play on the minds of the coaching team. While he has been cleared to train, the £60m-signing’s importance at the start of the season will be paramount. The likes of Sterling will take time to get up to speed and the same goes for Bernardo Silva who is still not ready to play 90 minutes.
Chelsea are also buzzing after the appointment of Maurizio Sarri. Fans are expecting the Italian to give Pep a run for his money this season with his brand of attacking-football seemingly identical to the Catalan’s.
While the teams are unlikely to line-up full strength, this will make for an interesting clash nonetheless.
PREDICTED MANCHESTER CITY LINEUP (4-3-3)
Ederson is expected to start in goal. Bravo has been impressive in pre-season but the Brazilian needs minutes before the Arsenal game.
Danilo is unavailable for selection and Walker is unlikely to start the game. Cameron Humphreys might start at right-back in their place.
Kompany, Otamendi and Stones are back in training. But Pep might persist with Laporte, who has just come back to match fitness. And there might be a surprise selection in Eric Garcia. The 17-year old has been excellent and deserves another chance.
Zinchenko is in line to get another start at left-back. Mendy is slowly nearing complete match fitness and will be the automatic starter when the Premier League season starts.
We will surely see an under-strength midfield. Gundogan is likely to get a start and will look to run the show from the middle. Foden will be hoping for another chance to impress after a good show against Bayern. Luke Bolton can be picked to complete the midfield trio with the likes of Fernandinho and Silva appearing in the latter stages.
Leroy Sane will start on the left-wing having had little gametime over the summer. Pep is unlikely to risk Riyad Mahrez after the injury scare last week. And we might see Bernardo Silva lining up on the right. In the attack, Lucas Nmecha might get a start with Sergio Aguero and Jesus unlikely to be risked from the beginning.