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Q&A inför Community Shield

I morgon är det dags för säsongen 2019/2020 att sparka igång, det gör den med den årliga matchen mellan ligavinnarna och cupvinnarna. Eftersom Manchester City som bekant vann båda dessa tävlingar får vi, som ligatvåa, chansen att spela den här matchen. Oavsett om man ser det här som chans till en titel eller en glorifierad träningsmatch så är det ett nyttigt genrep inför kommande veckas ligamatch. Richard Burns(@RichardTheBurns) är som vanligt vår expert när det kommer till det ljusblå laget från Manchester, här berättar han om hur statusen i truppen på:

1. What has happened at City during the summer? Transfers ins/outs
Once again, City have not gone crazy with the incoming transfers. 
Angelino has come in as cover at left-back. It’s something of an 
unexpected return to the club for a former academy player – he will 
surely act as back-up to first choice Oleksandr Zinchenko and 
injury-prone Benjamin Mendy. More significantly, City signed Rodri from 
Atletico Madrid – at around £67m he is the club’s record signing and 
finally provides long-term cover for Fernandinho, something City have 
been crying out for for at least two years. He looks like the perfect 
Guardiola midfielder, so I think there’s a bit of excitement amongst our 
fanbase about this guy.

Sadly, on the outgoings, we’ve said goodbye to Vincent Kompany after 10 
incredible years. I am not ashamed to admit that I was a little 
emotional reading the news of his departure the morning after winning 
the FA Cup and I don’t think I’ll really come to terms with it until I 
start seeing Premier League squads without him in them. He had an 
incredible end to the season and it felt like he still had something to 
offer. He will be missed like no player that has left in my lifetime; 
He’s followed the old adage of ”Always leave them wanting more.” The 
other significant departure is Fabian Delph, who has left for Everton. 
He’ll always be appreciated at City for his stellar performances at 
leftback in our 100-point season, but the time had come to move on. This 
move is a good one for all parties.

There is an ongoing sage with Leroy Sané; I desperately hope he stays 
because he is a phenomenally gifted lad, but I fear Bayern Munich might 
just get their hands on him.

2. You had an amazing season last season, what is next step for this team?
It’s all about constant improvement. Can the style be refined 
further? Yes – it’s always possible to improve! In the middle of last 
season, City struggled when they went behind in games. Chelsea, 
Leicester, Crystal Palace and Newcastle all beat City despite City 
gaining the initial upperhand. Once they went behind, they could not 
recover the momentum. So that’s a very clear area to look to improve on. 
We can’t demand more trophies and we can’t demand that we improve the 
points total beyond 98, nor can we demand more than 14 wins in a row to 
seal the league. It’s just about those tactical tweaks to continuing 
evolving in the Guardiola teams do. Oh…and there is the small matter 
of the Champions League! If we were to make a mess an away leg in the 
knockout stages again, Pep will find it harder to avoid the inquisition.

3. How has the results at the pre season been?
For what they’re worth, the results have generally been OK. There was 
a good win against West Ham, a draw against Wolves that resulted in a 
penalty shootout defeat and a big win against a team whose name I can’t 
remember. There might have been other games but, I’ll be honest, I avoid 
pre-season as much as I can. It should be a time for the manager to 
drill his players, the players to get that match sharpness back and to 
test new tactical ideas in a pressure free environment. Instead, we fly 
players around the world all summer, put friendlies on TV and call them 
trophies, just to make a bit more money. And then we wonder why players 
are tired in March! I don’t blame the club, that’s just how the game is 
these days, but I spend August-May thinking about City and dealing the 
emotional highs and lows that the season provides, so I refuse to engage 
with pre-season as well – I appreciate the break!

Sorry – that’s probably not the answer you were looking for but it felt 
good to get it off my chest.

4. Do you think we will see anything new in the way City plays this season?
With no replacement for Kompany on the horizon and Rodri surely commanding plenty of football, we could see Fernandinho drop to 
centre-back. He’s done it before and equipped himself well and I suspect 
we’ll see a lot more of it this season. We can’t possibly expect to 
compete on four fronts with just John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi  and 
Ayemeric Laporte. Either Fernadinho’s role will change or Pep is about 
to put a lot of faith in one or two of the promising defenders from the 
academy. Other than that, expect more of the same.

5. Who will be your most important player this season?
That’s a hard question because City are not at all about individuals. 
I could argue it will be Kevin De Bruyne, returning from injury with the 
bit between his teeth; I believe that on form, he is the best player in 
the league. But I could also argue for Bernardo Silva, whose quality and 
workrate can’t be overstated. But then I could say it will be Raheem 
Sterling, who improves immeasurably every season. Or I could argue for 
Ederson, whose distribution sets the tone for rest of the team. If we 
lost him and had to rely on Claudio Bravo we’d be in a mess. So for the 
sake of picking one player, I’ll say Ederson.

6. Community shield, what do you expect of the game?
I think the nature of having the two best teams in the country 
compete in the game and the recently-developed rivalry between the two 
teams will mean this one has a bit more edge to it than the Community 
Shield normally does. That said, I very much see it as a glorified 
friendly. I hope we play well and I’d rather we win than lose as it can 
be a nice way to lead into the season but honestly, the game really 
doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s the final pre-season game, there’ll be 
a lot of substitutions. As a match, it will probably be close and I’d 
predict a City win – maybe 2-1, but I won’t be losing any sleep over 
this one. Come back to me ahead of the league games and you’ll me as a 
nervous wreck! Enjoy the game.

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