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Man City predicted lineup vs Arsenal

Manchester City begin the 2023/24 season in Sunday’s Community Shield against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium.

Pep Guardiola led City to the European Treble last term, the second of his managerial career. His Barcelona side from 2008/09 went on to collect six trophies in a single calendar year – a feat no team has ever been able to match.

The quest to repeat the sextuple could end on Sunday afternoon if Arsenal exact some revenge for their failure in last season’s top-flight title race.

Here’s the XI Guardiola may deploy in a bid to win City’s fourth trophy of 2023.

Erling Braut Håland

Erling Haaland scored against Arsenal with his flaxen locks unsheathed in April / Visionhaus/GettyImages

GK: Ederson – The Brazilian keeper has beaten Arsenal more often than any other club in his career, winning 12 of his 13 appearances against the Gunners.

RB: Kyle Walker – In the face of mounting interest from Bayern Munich, Guardiola has tried to convince Walker to stay by regularly making him City’s captain during pre-season. It remains to be seen if the emotional ploy will pay off.

CB: John Stones – In Stones’ last competitive outing for City, the Champions League final, he completed an unrivalled six dribbles. There was no hint of sarcasm when his teammate Manuel Akanji claimed: “He played like Maradona!”

CB: Ruben Dias – The defender who used to go by the nickname, ‘The Bodyguard’, will surely be back on duty this weekend.

LB: Manuel Akanji – With Nathan Ake a fitness doubt and Aymeric Laporte linked with a move away from the Etihad, Akanji could slot onto the left of defence. The unwanted Joao Cancelo is highly unlikely to feature.

CM: Julian Alvarez – Argentina’s World Cup-winning number nine may be afforded a berth in City’s attacking midfield in the likely absence of Kevin De Bruyne.

CM: Rodri – The Champions League matchwinner has admitted that he’s watched his deciding goal against Inter “5,000 times” in multiple languages.

CM: Mateo Kovacic – Ilkay Gundogan’s nominal replacement may be afforded his competitive debut for City this Sunday.

RW: Bernardo Silva – The subject of squad-wide ribbing for his “old man clothes”, his former teammate Gabriel Jesus – now of Arsenal – was convinced that Bernardo dressed so poorly it had to be part of an elaborate practical joke.

ST: Erling Haaland – In a bid to fully maximise the talent at his disposal, Haaland takes great care over how much sleep he gets and even wears orange-tinted goggles before nodding off to block out high energy emitted from natural light.

LW: Jack Grealish – The treble winners’ master of ceremonies has put down the boombox blaring out Fleetwood Mac and is in much better condition after a summer to recover from last season’s celebrations.

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