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Summer tour: Scene Setter

PORTRAIT: Profile of City's new manager

PORTRAIT: Profile of City's new manager

City head out on the 2016 summer tour next week as Pep Guardiola presides over his first games as the Blues’ boss.

So what can we expect or look forward to? 

We've focused on some of the main talking points from the last few weeks as pre-season really shifts up a gear...

The Guardiola effect:

City will begin their summer in the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich where Guardiola will take on his former employers.

Of course, it’s unlikely we’ll see the ‘Guardiola effect’ straight away, but no doubt the head coach will expect the players to have adopted as much of his philosophy as possible – even if there have only been a couple of weeks of training.

Nolito should see some game time and the full touring party will be announced on Monday – but Ilkay Gundogan is still some way off taking part.

Will there be one or two more new faces in the touring party? We’ll have to see what the next few days bring but it’s fair to say Guardiola will hoping to bring in some fresh blood this season.

Watching brief: Pep on duty

It will be fascinating to see how Guardiola utilises some of his younger squad members on the tour, with big opportunities awaiting those who impress the Catalan.

Bayern may be short of a number of their top stars given Germany’s extended stay at Euro 2016 but the game will almost certainly see the Blues press high and in numbers without the ball as well as retaining possession for long periods.

It is the start of a new era for the Blues and the boss will want to see energy, enthusiasm and plenty of effort.

New roles?

Another fascinating aspect of the tour matches is how Guardiola plans to use some of his squad in the coming months.

Will he have earmarked Fernandinho for his familiar holding midfield role or will he use him as a more attack-minded midfielder?

Could the Brazilian even form part of a new look back four? And where will Yaya Toure fit into the grand scheme of things?  Can Pep get Yaya back to his very best and, given he once employed him as a centre-back in a Champions League final, where will he fit into the jigsaw?

Ferna: Where will Pep play him?

Fernando, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas are all players capable of adapting into new positions if required.

And will Joe Hart and Willy Caballero become sweeper-keepers– the next couple of weeks will tell us much.

China in our hands?

City’s growing presence in China along with the recent investment made by CMC will make this an interesting trip to the country.

When the Blues last toured China in 2013, the friendly in the Bird’s Nest Arena against Arsenal was notable for the thousands of Chinese Gunners fans compared to a few hundred City fans.

Will there be bigger numbers of sky blue shirts in the crowd for our two International Champions Cup games? Almost definitely.

Pep v Jose

Whether you like it or not, the media are going to ramp up the Guardiola v Mourinho contest to the max this season.

That the two managers of the Manchester clubs meet in pre-season has added plenty of spice to City’s game against United on 25 July.

Of course, Pep will only focus on his players and what happens on the pitch, but whoever wins this game will – in the probable words of the national journalists – struck an early psychological blow.

An overseas Manchester derby is special enough, but given both clubs now have new managers, new players and a rivalry that is likely to shift up a couple of gears and this is likely to be a fierce, competitive match that could well set the time for the derbies to come.

The first test will come against Borussia Dortmund – a team Guardiola knows well.

Gunner be good?

The Blues wrap up their pre-season games with a game against Arsenal.

Zaba on target against Arsenal in Beijing

City have met the Gunners in three of the past four pre-seasons, winning 2-0 in China, losing 3-1 in Helsinki and  losing 3-0 in the Community Shield – the Blues will hope to fair better this time around and the City boss should have all his squad available plus any new signings.

This match will probably be the closest preview of what lies ahead.

As Pep himself said recently, “Fasten your seatbelts…”

Games:

Bayern Munich v City, Wednesday, 20 July (Munich)

City v United, Monday, 25 July, (Beijing)

City v Dortmund, Thursday, 28 July, (Shenzhen)

Arsenal v City, Sunday, 7 August, (Gothenburg)

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