Manchester City play their first home game of the season against Bournemouth on Saturday, August 13th, with kick off at 3pm (BST).
In today's press conference Pep Guardiola confirmed that Manchester City has signed Anderlecht left back Sergio Gomez, and that the club is still looking to add another to the first team.
There was speculation that Gomez would be more of a City Football Group signing, and that he would be immediately loaned out. However, it appears as though Gomez will stay and fight for a spot.
"He is for now, he will stay with us, the squad, alongside Joao [Cancelo], Josh [Wilson-Esbrand] and him for the left-back [position], he'll stay with us."
Fortunately there haven't been any major injury issues over the past week. Guardiola confirmed that two squad players will miss its Saturday's match with minor issues.
"We have Kalvin [Phillips] with some niggles, Cole Palmer had a knock in his feet so is a doubt [for Bournemouth]. The rest fine."
Manchester City have a history of starting slowly in their league campaigns. However, Guardiola made a point to highlight the difficulties when facing a newly promoted side.
"A lot of respect for Scott Parker, patterns are so clear. We spoke and trained and we're ready. It's so tricky [to face promoted teams early], the first games are so difficult, they don't feel pressure because they are in incredible mood.
Last week there were a few surprises in the starting XI with Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden breaking through despite not being able to feature during preseason.
There were fears at first that Bernardo Silva being dropped was due to a potential transfer to Barcelona. However, it appears that the decision was made due to tactical reasons.
With Gundogan and Foden fit enough to start. You start to wonder if John Stones might be able to make an appearance. Nathan Ake has done a great job at filling in. However, Stones’ distribution and ball carrying makes him a must start, if fit enough.
I expect to see the same front three again this weekend. Foden didn’t spend a ton of time on the right the last two seasons, but he is far too good to be left on the bench. Jack Grealish has been inconsistent since signing but his promising preseason performances will likely buy him a few more guaranteed starts on the left.
Although Riyad Mahrez was instrumental in Manchester City taking control of the league at the start of the new year last season. Foden's ability makes him undroppable. I expect Foden to feature in nearly every game moving forward.
With still no left back, it’s clear that Joao Cancelo and Kyler Walker will once again start. The return of inverted fullbacks showed what life might look like with a proper striker. In his pre match press conference Pep hinted that this might be the norm moving forward.
“It's not the first time, many years, last season with a proper striker or false nine.
“Depends on the shape of the opponent or how the opponent defend. Whether they are four or five at the back, flat, how the wingers behave. This affects your attack. You have to adapt. Since Bayern, always I use it.
The only unknown is who will start in midfield alongside De Bruyne, and who plays alongside Ruebn Dias.
Predicted XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Haaland, Foden
Bournemouth started their season off with an impressive 2-0 win at home against Aston Villa to start the season. The Cherries grabbed a goal off a corner in the opening two minutes and refused to relinquish their lead before grabbing a late goal to kill the game off.
Bournemouth manager Scott Parker brought his side back to the Premier League in his first year at the helm. Similar to what he accomplished with Fulham just a few years back.
Parker has relied on playing attacking, possession based football to get promoted twice in the Championship now. However, with Fulham, Parker was unable to find anywhere close to the same level of success. Only time will tell how Bournemouth will cope with being back in the Premier League, especially with only adding two players in the transfer window.
Regardless, a win against Aston Villa is still impressive. But Parker’s usual 4-3-3 was replaced with a defensively sound 5-3-2. Like many newly promoted sides it remains to be seen if Bournemouth can play a very different style of football compared to their Championship run.
Parker now has a full year of Premier League managerial experience, and now that he’s slated to face off against the defending champions he understands moments like these will prepare his players for the rest of the season.
"While of course the quality is there, and the challenge is there, it's a challenge I want my players to relish and not shirk away from.
"They'll go up against these players and show their worth, and make their stance in this division. That's exactly where our mindset is at, and that's where it needs to be.
Head to Head
Both of Manchester City’s draws against Bournemouth occurred over 20 years ago when both teams were competing in lower tiers of the Football League.
Referee: David Coote
Assistant: Nick Hopton, Timothy Wood
Fourth official: Josh Smith
VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn
David Coote is relatively new to officiating the Premier League. Having mostly been in lower leagues. Coote has only managed four Manchester City matches in his career. With City winning all four.
Written by: @IVIeehan
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