Peace at last. The uncertainty of pre-season has finally come to an end and normality can resume as we welcome back the competitive footballing calendar for another season. While some domestic leagues around Europe are yet to start their individual competitions, it certainly hasn’t stopped many of City’s class of 2017/18 gaining valuable minutes out on loan.
We start in the Eredivisie at NAC Breda, who are this year represented by six players from Manchester City. The Dutch side struck a five year deal in 2016 to become a partner club of the City Football Group in an agreement which will see them take between four and six players on loan from the Blues every season as a means of developing our younger players. Last season, NAC Breda profited from the arrangement as the loans of Manu García and James Horsfield helped to ensure promotion from the second division to the Eredivisie. However, their return to the top flight has taken a wobbly start. In the game amusingly billed online as the U23 derby between the loan stars of Chelsea and Manchester City, Vitesse Arnhem emerged with the 3 points after a convincing 4-1 victory. Pablo Marí and Angeliño made their competitive debuts for the club in defence, while Manu García and Thierry Ambrose were involved in the action up front. The attacking pair combined as Ambrose got his name on the scoresheet on his debut, although it was merely a consolation goal.
Very desappointed with the defeat of yesterday.
Glad to have scored my first official goal.
Thanks to all the travelling fans that came💛⚫️ pic.twitter.com/b3lgAcxxeV
— ambroseT68 (@thierryambrose) August 13, 2017
Meanwhile, much closer to home, Joe Hart will be hoping to impress while on loan at West Ham. Surprisingly, Hart will be the only City player out on loan in the Premier League this season. The England number one is looking to salvage his reputation ahead of a crucial World Cup year after a poor season in Italy with Torino. It was a debut to forget for Hart, however, as he conceded four goals at Old Trafford. It would be unfair to blame him for the majority of Manchester United’s goals due to questionable defending from the West Ham backline, but several took to social media to lament his role in United’s fourth and final goal, with the England goalkeeper once again beaten down to his left.
In the North East, another Manchester City goalkeeper was in action as Angus Gunn featured in Norwich City’s 3-1 defeat at home to Sunderland. The 21-year-old is yet to keep a clean sheet for the Canaries since moving on loan and will seek to resolve this matter on Tuesday evening against QPR.
Staying in the same region, Bersant Celina is spending the season at Ipswich Town. The Kosovan winger only watched from the side-lines as Mick McCarthy’s side picked up a valuable 2-1 win away at Barnsley.
In League 1, Rodney Kongolo came on for the final 6 minutes of Doncaster’s 3-1 away win at Blackburn.
Finally, Girona’s long awaited bow in La Liga comes next weekend as City’s partner club welcome Atlético Madrid.
The Blues have a whole host of talent to look out for this season; from Marlos Moreno, who we hope will be swapping the bench of Deportivo La Coruna for the first team of Girona to the highly-rated Douglas Luiz, who will hope to get pulses racing as he enters his first competitive season as a player in Europe. Throw in the likes of Pablo Maffeo and Aleix Garcia and it should make for a truly interesting season as a Manchester City fan.
City will actually play against Girona on Tuesday night. Just 24 hours after their comfortable opening day victory at Brighton, the stars were spotted boarding a flight to Spain to partake in the Costa Brava trophy. The match will give Pep Guardiola the opportunity to assess his squad ahead of their match against Everton next Monday. The fixture will be played at the Estadi Montilivi at 5pm and will be streamed live on City’s official website for members of the ‘Cityzens’ scheme.