Mourinho And Guardiola Will Start The New Season At United And City With Little Match Preparation

Posted: July 28, 2016 in European Football, Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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This should not come as a major surprise to supporters of the two clubs. If they both stick to their original schedule Manchester United will have played five “warm-up” games and City three.

United will have faced Wigan Athletic, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Everton and Leicester City.

City will have played Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.

In the past United have been known to organise another friendly prior to the start of the season, usually in the week leading up to the Community Shield. Given that their derby in China was cancelled they may still choose to fit in another game before the big kick off. It seems that United’s players have not yet reached the required level of fitness demanded by a Premier League title contender.

City, on the other hand, seem to be using the friendlies more for Pep Guardiola to look at his squad rather than any fitness finding exercise for the players. As per usual, in the year of two international competitions, City have had a lot of players away at both the Copa America and the European Championships so, as long as those players involved have kept themselves fit in the three weeks since the tournaments finished there shouldn’t really be any major fitness concerns.

Assuming that this is true it is difficult to make a case for organising more games as there is only so much you can learn in a non-competitive match. They really are for building up fitness and, maybe, trying out a new formation but little else. This is why sponsors keep trying to dream up new “friendly” competitions in an attempt to try and encourage the clubs to take the games seriously. It will never happen.

Away with their countries City had Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi and Pablo Zabaleta with Argentina. David Silva and Nolito represented Spain while Kevin De Bruyne and Jason Denayer were with Belgium, (Vincent Kompany even went along to watch). Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling were contributing factors to the England debacle, although Sterling not so much as Hart. France called up Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov was with Serbia. My apologies if I have missed anyone!

Theoretically, the same should apply to United but they didn’t look match fit against Borussia Dortmund and lost the game quite easily. In truth, not many of their players played in many games at either the Euros or the Copa America. With the exception of Marcos Rojo, who’s Argentina team made it to the final, nobody really featured in many of the games. The irony is that Rojo is unlikely to feature in many games for United next season if, indeed, he is there at all!

Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin struggled to get into the French team, as did Marouane Fellaini with the Belgians, although he did come on as a substitute. The same applied to Bastian Schweinsteiger with Germany and Matteo Darmian with Italy. The less said about the English contingent the better, suffice it to say that, if they were tired after that shambles then they shouldn’t be playing football. Zlatan Ibrahimovic strolled round with his Sweden team-mates for three games and has been given extra time to recover owing to his great age.

So, when the new season starts, barring extra friendlies being arranged, the two teams will have had little actual game preparation.

Having said that, on opening day just keep an eye on some of the players turning out for these two clubs. You can bet your bottom dollar that their opponents, Bournemouth and Sunderland, would give anything to have those players in their team.

Update: Since publishing this article Manchester City, perhaps realising they need more game time, have begun trying to arrange a friendly with St. Johnstone. At the time of writing, nothing has been agreed.

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