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Talking Points: Man City v Real Madrid

Coliseum

Coliseum

Manchester City face Real Madrid at the LA Memorial Coliseum this week. It’s the Blues’ glamour pre-season friendly and we’ve taken a look at the pre-match talking points.

1Case for the defence

After a busy couple of days in the summer transfer market, manager Pep Guardiola now has much more armoury at his disposal in terms of the make-up of his City back-line.

Earlier summer signings Kyle Walker and Ederson both made their City bows in last week's historic first-ever overseas derby with Manchester United in Houston.

And with Danilo and Benjamin Mendy having since also sealed their moves to the Club and joined up with the tour party in Los Angeles, there could be more debuts in store for the testing assignment with European champions Real Madrid in the early hours of Thursday.

The latest arrivals mean the City boss now has options aplenty at the back as he looks to get City battle-hardened ahead of the new Premier League campaign and it will be fascinating to see how he deploys his troops against Zinedine Zidane's squad.

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2Teen spirit

Stockport teenager Phil Foden garnered headlines aplenty following a superb first-team debut against Manchester United in Houston.

Guardiola was glowing in his praise for the 17-year-old and the Stockport-born attacking midfielder, who caused United all end of problems last week, could be given another high-profile opportunity to impress at the LA Coliseum.

However, Foden wasn't the only youngster to shine bright in City's tour opener.

Patrick Roberts, back after an impressive 18-month loan spell at Celtic, also caught the eye with a fine individual performance while defender Tosin Adarabioyo was another to earn plaudits from Guardiola afterwards.

And for all the publicity and headlines surrounding the summer signings, who transformed the make-up of the City squad, the trip to the States also offers the young brigade the perfect showcase to press their own claims on Guardiola.

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3Fighting fit

Given it was their first pre-season outing, City were understandably not quite at full throttle during the Houston derby.

But with the best part of another week's fitness work now under their belts, Guardiola will be looking to see his players take another key step forward in the build-up to the Premier League opener at Brighton next month.

And they couldn't have a better yardstick than in the formidable shape of the reigning European champions.

Of course, results are of secondary importance in pre-season friendlies, but a match-up with Real Madrid is probably just what City need in terms of getting them ship-shape for when the real business starts in earnest.

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4Real quality

Indeed, the depth of quality in the Real squad underlines just how big a test this is for City.

Their midfield trio of Isco, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric is packed full of vision and guile and can unlock the tightest of defences.

And with Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale ahead of them, goals are never far away.

As pre-season tests go, this is about as difficult as it gets.

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