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Community Shield: Talking Points

WEMBLEY: City face Chelsea in this season's Community Shield on Sunday

WEMBLEY: City face Chelsea in this season's Community Shield on Sunday

Manchester City take on Chelsea this afternoon in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Ahead of the game, Club journalist Rob Pollard has taken a look at some of the pre-match talking points.

1Vital opportunity to fine-tune

A World Cup year can often cause club managers problems – but this one has been particularly problematic for Pep Guardiola, who sent an incredible 16 players to Russia, seven of whom made it to the semi-final stage or beyond.

It’s meant a truncated summer for City’s international stars and left Guardiola with a young and inexperienced squad for the Club’s US Tour.

There’s a danger City could be somewhat undercooked at this stage, and so Sunday’s game against Chelsea offers a vital opportunity for Guardiola to give some of his players top-level game-time before next weekend’s Premier League curtain-raiser away at Arsenal.

READ: Chelsea v City | Injury update

READ: Media Watch | Cox hails "revolutionary" Guardiola

2Sane factor

One player with a full summer of training behind him is Leroy Sane.

He returned to the CFA early and played a key role in City’s US Tour, scoring a fine goal against Liverpool and adding experience to our young side.

Can he top last season, which saw him named PFA Young Player of the Year after scoring 14 goals and registering 19 assists in all competitions?

It’ll be a tough ask, but he is an incredibly talented player who has everything needed to reach the very top of the game, and watching him flourish under Guardiola's guidance should be exciting for every City fan. 

PEP GUARDIOLA: Pre-Community Shield press conference.

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3Friends reunited

Sunday’s match sees Guardiola come up against his friend Maurizio Sarri, a manager he believes to be one of the best in the world.

Sarri took charge of Chelsea this summer having spent three years with Napoli, a period that saw him revolutionise the Italian side’s style of play. Indeed, they scored 251 goals during his reign, more than any other team.

They were runners-up in Serie A last season, posting a record points tally for a side finishing second.

Sarri’s sides like to press the opposition high, with their work-rate out of possession seen as equally important as quality on the ball.

Possession is key, and like Guardiola, Sarri’s training sessions often involve small sided games and keep-ball exercises designed to improve his players’ ability to dominate play.

He’s also known for his meticulous planning, with former players revealing he has 33 corner routines. Expect a well-drilled but expansive Chelsea side under the former international currency trader.

4Improvement?

Having won the Premier League by 19 points last season, some are questioning whether City can improve this time out.

It’s a division widely considered to be the most competitive in world football, but Guardiola’s side racked up 100 points, breaking a series of significant records along the way.

But with Benjamin Mendy back to full fitness and set to feature more prominently having missed much of last season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Guardiola once again has a specialist left-back available, and with it comes the option to play a 3-5-2 formation when necessary.

That will give him additional flexibility when trying to break down stubborn opposition.

The signing of Ryiad Mahrez brings additional firepower, with his ability to beat defenders in one-on-one situations a welcome boost in the final third.

And Aymeric Laporte, signed in January, will now be in a far better position to show his quality at the heart of City's back four. 

It’s likely City’s rivals will react to our dominance of last season, and therefore matching our 100 point tally will be difficult – but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve.

The players will be determined to become the first team to retain the Premier League title in a decade, as well as improve in both the Champions League and FA Cup.

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Centurions trophy tour in China

WORLD TOUR: Paul Dickov with City's silverware in Shanghai

To celebrate Manchester City’s Premier League and Carabao Cup victories last season, the Club is taking the trophies for the Centurions Trophy Tour, presented by Etihad Airways.

The Centurions Trophy Tour will showcase our record-breaking season, including the unique achievement of reaching 100 point in a Premier League season.

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