With four games in four different locations, it was a busy but productive fortnight for Pep Guardiola’s squad, who head home with valuable minutes in the bank ahead of the new Premier League season.
Asia also provided the players with the chance to enjoy a raft of new experiences, too, of course, but getting fit and prepared for 2019/20 campaign was the primary concern.
It was the primary outcome, too, with City looking increasingly slicker as the tour progressed.
There was plenty to analyse throughout, but here, we take a look at some of the most noteworthy statistics from our two-week trip…
65,052 fans turned out for City’s 3-1 win over Yokohama F. Marinos at the Nissan Stadium.
Whilst we are were there to prepare for the new season, touring Asia also gave us an important opportunity to connect with our global fan base.
This was the largest crowd of the tour and it was fantastic to see so many of our supporters enjoying the game in Japan.
The attendance for the preseason friendly was not too dissimilar to some of the stadium’s biggest games, which include World Cup and World Club Cup matches involving the likes of AC Milan, Brazil, Boca Juniors and Real Madrid.
2Moving the ball
City enjoyed 66% of possession against Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy final.
The game ended in defeat of course, but as Guardiola said beforehand, in preseason victory is not the be all and end all.
It’s about preparation and fine tuning.
And whilst City may have ended that game feeling the latter was needed in order to convert possession into goals, this stat is particularly striking because it was achieved in only our second preseason friendly.
With the Europa League to prepare for, Wolves were back in training two weeks prior to Guardiola’s men, but City were still able to control the game, often leaving the opposition camped deep in their own half.
It’s nothing new. City have done this countless times since the Catalan took charge.
But to see the players doing so this early bodes well for the start of the new campaign.
3Without the ball
In what is quite possibly the most surprising stat of the tour, City had only 42% of possession against Yokohama.
Such is Guardiola’s philosophy, since he arrived the Premier League champions have rarely had less of the ball than an opponent.
Prior to that game the City boss had acknowledged the similarities between our style and Yokohama’s, revealing he thought Ange Postecoglou’s side would provide a great test.
And that was the case, with Raheem Sterling labelling the Japanese outfit “one of the best teams I’ve seen play out from the back.”
A new experience for City, but an opportunity to learn, which is what preseason is all about and crucially, we still created more chances on our way to winning the game.
4The kids are alright
Eleven teenagers were included in the tour party.
Of that group, Phil Foden is the only player who has truly established himself as part of the first-team squad.
But Foden’s fellow teens certainly grasped their opportunity to impress in more senior surroundings.
Tommy Doyle and Taylor Harwood-Bellis both played with a maturity beyond their years and looked assured against Premier League opponents during the China leg of the trip.
Meanwhile, the trickery of Ian Poveda and Adrian Bernabe also shone in flashes, with the latter providing a wonderful assist for David Silva’s goal against West Ham.
A great experience for the youngsters and they certainly gave a good account of themselves.
Kevin De Bruyne saw 226 minutes of action across the four games.
And he was particularly impressive, with his probing passing the architect of much of City’s best play.
The Belgian midfielder will no doubt want to put his injury-hampered 2018/19 campaign behind him and make a strong start to the new season.
His game time and performances on tour would suggest he’s ready to hit the ground running.