At the halfway mark in City’s pre-season, we take stock on what we learned from the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund.
Club journalist Mark Booth picks out five pressing subjects…
1 Top Gunn
Making just his second senior appearance for City, this was a night Angus Gunn will never forget.
The England u21 international repeated Caballero's Capital One Cup final trick of producing a hat-trick of penalty saves to give City victory against Dortmund.
None of the saves could be considered “gimmes” either – his stop from Felix Passlack was especially impressive, requiring the strongest of wrists to turn it clear.
Anyone who has watched the Elite Development Squad over the past two seasons will know what a good young goalkeeper City have in Angus and so it’s pleasing to see him transfer his quality from the junior to the senior stage.
2 Element of risk
Willy Caballero’s pre-match warning that City would live more dangerously in order to play beautiful football came to life before our eyes on Thursday night in Shenzhen.
Especially in the first half, there seemed to be a few crossed wires across the back three trialled by Pep Guardiola, with the Blues losing the ball in what, on another day, might have been fatal positions.
That said, Pep’s men seemed to get better as the night went on, with young Tosin Adarabioyo growing into the game beautifully, finishing up the night as partner to Fernandinho in the centre of defence.
The England youth international is the only player to have featured for all 180 minutes of the two friendlies and he’s done his prospects no harm at all, proving he has the bravery to play the brand of football his new coach demands.
3 Just Fab
A series of injuries denied Fabian Delph the dream debut season he might have envisaged when he swapped Villa Park for the Etihad Stadium last summer.
The England international couldn’t work up a head of steam due to a succession of knocks and lay-offs but against Dortmund he was arguably the best player on the pitch.
City’s likeable Yorkshireman seemed to have a greater license to roam into the final third in this game against Dortmund and his link-up play, as well as his dribbling, caused Borussia a number of issues in the first half.
A new manager means a blank slate for everyone and it appears evident that Delph is determined to work his way into Guardiola’s plans.
It seemed fitting that the first goal of the Guardiola era was straight out of the Pep playbook.
At their best, his Bayern and Barcelona teams seemed to be able to pick up and tip the pitch like a foosball table, creating these overloads, sucking defenders in towards the ball before releasing the mechanism to open up even the tightest of defences.
That’s exactly how you could describe City’s goal last night as Angelino, Silva, Aleix Garcia and Aguero combined to fatally lacerate the Dortmund defence, leaving their manager applauding on the sidelines.
Pep is proving to be forthright in post-match press conferences when quizzed about potential signings, straight-batting all questions on the subject of Leroy Sane and John Stones, managing to show respect to the players’ clubs and admit interest at the same time.
In an age where outright lying to journalists about transfer targets is accepted as all part of the poker game, it’s disarming and refreshing to hear such honest answers to straightforward questions.