A disappointing Manchester derby loss in Texas seemingly invigorated Manchester City who matched Real Madrid in what was an intense first half of tonight’s friendly. While Real had their moments in the first half, City were more dominant on the ball and created a couple of good chances. It was goalless going into the break, but the second half would reward the record crowd of 93,098 at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
City lined up with a back five, Walker and Danilo wide with Otamendi and Kompany accompanying Stones in the middle. While it is pre-season, this is an exciting prospect. City’s midfield is far from defensive and through the duration of the season a back five could be the defensive sturdiness they’ve been lacking. Kompany’s return makes this a whole lot more feasible and something that would be beneficial for John Stones, in particular. Having fullbacks as attack-minded as Mendy and Walker makes it more attainable too, Danilo showed good signs in attack as well.
In the second half City intensified their attacks, De Bruyne specifically with great crosses and one of which leading to an Otamendi tap in from a John Stones header. Raheem Sterling replaced Sergio Agüero centrally, a position that has worked for him in the past and could hold promise in the future. Two good runs in behind within a minute showed his movement centrally and the second of which produced a great goal from a De Bruyne pass. Another pass from the Belgian created a goal for John Stones that any centre forward would be proud of.
17-year-old Brahim Diaz topped off an impressive attacking display with a beautiful shot from outside the box. Sadly the clean sheet was conceded at the end via another wonder goal, this one from Madrid’s own teenage attacker Óscar Rodríguez.
Overall, a lot of promise for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in this warm-up game. Kyle Walker put in another solid performance, his pace allows him to make up for any mistake and going forward he’s sharp as well as reliable in possession. Likewise, Danilo had a promising debut, one in which he seemed desperate to score against his former club.
City’s overall shape was sturdy and the three defenders could certainly be a possibility going forward, like many top Premier League sides, and it will be interesting to see if Pep incorporates that this season.