Manchester City will face off against default opposition Arsenal, after they came second to the Blues in the Premier League title race and Guardiola’s men claimed the FA Cup.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 5, 2023
Arteta’s side might want to exact their revenge later today, and the Boys in Blue will want to “keep them in their place”.
With the Gunner significantly strengthening their squad with Declan Rice this summer, we could see a tricky game for City.
So who will Guardiola select in his starting line-up? Here’s my predicted line-up:
The Brazilian shot-stopper saw less pre-season game time than his second in command, and with the Premier League season right around the corner this could be the perfect warm up.
While talks continue regarding a possible departure for the right-back, Pep may prove his importance by bringing him into the starting line-up.
However, there have been snaps of the two in town for a seemingly intimate meeting. We could see Walker dropped to the bench if that was a farewell of sorts.
Rumours circulated earlier in the week that Stones was side-lined with a minor hammy issue. Nevertheless, he joined the squad for full training.
With the PL season coming up, Pep could choose to protect him and opt for an equally solid option in Akanji.
A sound candidate for next Manchester City skipper, Dias was immense in the business end of the 22/23 season. Before his return following an injury during the World Cup, City’s defence looked a little leaky and lacked a certain authority.
As Gvardiol is announced, the Blues now have CB talent in abundance. However, Laporte is too good to warm the bench and City will allow him to leave should an appropriate offer come in.
Pep is not the sentimental type, though he could allow Laporte in for what could be one of his final appearances for the Blues.
After a small clash during pre-season, the CB/LB left the field early. He has been in training since with a clear bill of health. Receiving one of the biggest rewards following his incredible efforts during the 22/23 season with a shiny new and extended contract.
Given that Phillips was unable to impress in the way he had hoped during pre-season, we are likely to see Rodri start. Phillips needs more game time and a friendly such as the Community Shield could set the tone for his redemption.
Man City’s new signing impressed during pre-season. Seeming to settle in well to Guardiola’s philosophy, he will hit the ground running.
Pep has hinted that City’s star boy could be played in a midfield position more often. Though has publicly discussed areas for improvement – development that will only come from experience.
De Bruyne has been back in full training with the squad following his injury during the latter end of the 22/23 season. The injury forced him off early in the Champions League final.
The Master of Midfield has begun training ahead of schedule, as it appears that he has recovered faster than expected. However, he is unlikely to start but might see some game time as a substitute.
With Mahrez, the only traditional right-winger the Blues had now gone, there are a number of options.
Bernardo or Foden are more than capable of wreaking havoc down the right wing and also playing in a more central position.
Presuming Guardiola will start strong and bring young talent off the bench, we could see Grealish on the left. I so often get “Pepped” with my predicted line-up, the City boss can be unpredictable.
Can he start the season off as he means to go on? After one of footballs most impressive club and league debuts, it’s difficult to comprehend how much more he can develop.
Do you agree with the predicted line-up?