Men's Team

Talking Points: Sane's Swedish bow?

TALKING POINTS: Plenty on the line in final friendly
It’s City’s final game of pre-season as Pep Guardiola’s men meet Arsenal in Gothenburg.

Club journalist @markbooth_mcfc picks out five things to look out for on Sunday evening at the Ullevi Stadium…

1 Leroy's Bow?

Leroy Sane became City’s fifth signing of the summer on Tuesday afternoon.

Whether or not this match will come too soon for the former Schalke man to feature remains to be seen – after all, he was part of the Germany squad which reached the semi-final stage of Euro 2016 and was therefore given a longer break.

He had returned to training in Gelsenkirchen before making the switch to City though, so Pep may just include him in the squad and give him a run-out at some stage in this final pre-season fixture.

Guardiola was a key factor in Leroy’s decision to come to the Etihad Stadium, describing the 19-year old as “a special talent” when the deal was done and this just might be our first opportunity to watch the new boy in action.

2 Competition for Places

This is the squad’s final chance to impress Guardiola in a match scenario before the big kick-off against Sunderland a week on Saturday and so it’s a friendly match which is likely to have an extra competitive edge compared to the exhibition matches which have come before.

Some of the younger members of the first-team squad will all hope to have the chance to build on the promising displays they produced against Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich but, with the likes of Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala, Kevin De Bruyne and Pablo Zabaleta all coming back into contention, it will be interesting to see who Pep takes on the plane to Sweden with him.

At Barcelona and Bayern Pep worked with relatively small squads in-season, so this could be the most telling clue as to how the manager is seeing things for 2016/17 we’ve yet been given.

3 Form Guide

Arsenal have only ventured into the transfer market twice so far this summer, bringing in Rob Holding from Bolton and Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Therefore, it’s a familiar Gunners squad that City will face off against in Sweden but one that looks in good form - if pre-season results are anything to go by.

Arsene Wenger’s side have recorded a draw and two wins in matches against Lens, the MLS All-Stars and Chivas de Guadalajara so far and play Viking FK in Stavanger on Friday before this clash with the Blues.

4 Inside Man

Arsenal haven’t lost many players over the summer so far but their club captain did depart after hanging up his boots to join his old friend Guardiola in a coaching capacity in Manchester.

City haven’t got the best record against the North Londoners in recent years, winning just one of the last seven meetings but now, in Mikel Arteta, we have one man who knows Arsenal’s strengths and weaknesses almost as well as anyone.

This meeting between the teams is very much a friendly but, in the coming battles, Mikel’s experience and knowledge could be a very useful resource for Pep to tap into.

5 Date with Destiny

Before the game in Sweden, City will learn their UEFA Champions League play-off round fate on Friday morning as the draw is made at UEFA HQ.

That tie is coming up fast and it’s one of the most important, immediate tests that Guardiola will face in his first weeks in the hot seat.

That makes this last non-competitive run-out crucial for the Catalan as he continues to get to know his squad and to implement his tactical ideas and systems for when it really counts.

It should be an intriguing watch…

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