Yaya's imminent milestone, the skipper's influence and a whiff of ocean breeze... just some topics for discussion on the eve of the new season...
1 Formation conundrum
While City played with several fluid formations during Pep’s first season, 3-5-2 has seen a number of outings during pre-season. Will the Blues start that way against Brighton? If we do, it seems likely Danilo will begin at left-back and Kyle Walker on the right with Benjamin Mendy not yet fit.
In turn, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Vincent Kompany would be the favourites to start in central defence. Moving upwards, Yaya Toure, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva could all start with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus the front pairing.
But then there’s Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling to throw into the equation plus Fernandinho… this game will probably come too soon for Bernardo Silva to start, but we won’t know any of the above until about an hour before kick-off…
2 Yaya 300
Yaya Toure ended last season on 299 games for the Blues and many wondered whether he would remain stranded on that figure with his future not yet decided.
Yaya penned a new one-year deal in the summer and looks set to continue to see plenty of game time this season, possibly sharing a holding midfield role with Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan throughout the campaign. If he starts at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday, he will reach the notable landmark of 300 games as he further cements his place as one of the Blues’ modern greats.
If he does and there is a penalty at Brighton, it will be interesting to see if he again steps aside for Gabriel Jesus to take on duties – or will he resume himself, given his 100% record?
3 August by the seaside…
The Brighton fixture will be followed by another long trip to the south coast for travelling Blues with a game away to Bournemouth in a fortnight’s time. Blues living in or close to Manchester that attend both games will clock up close on 1,000 miles for the first two games – and with Watford and Chelsea next on the agenda, that figure could double in September!
Four long journeys in a row to kick-off the campaign with – an unprecedented amount of miles to begin a campaign with?
4 Leading man
Vincent Kompany has looked at his commanding best in City's pre-season fixtures and it’s no coincidence that when the skipper plays well, it tends to bring out the best of the rest of his team-mates.
There's no doubt that City missed Kompany's reassuring presence at the back while the big Belgian was on the sidelines last season overcoming various setbacks.
Hopefully the big man's bad luck is now behind him and if Kompany kicks on, it should not only make City that much more of a tough nut to crack, it will also provide a reassuring signal to his team-mates in what could be a new-look three man central defensive trio.
5 Quick out of the blocks
City made a flying start to the campaign last August in Pep Guardiola's first season at the helm at the Etihad and, traditionally, the Blues have tended to come racing out of the blocks. With virtually all the Premier League's big guns having invested heavily over the summer, many pundits are predicting the most fiercely-fought title campaign to date.
Therefore, it’s even more important that City look to lay down a statement of intent right from the get-go and a positive result at the AMEX will act as the perfect opening shot.
6 Sergio's quest
Sergio Aguero's two-goal flourish in the 5-0 win over Watford last May took the Argentine to 169 goals for City.
He is now just nine goals shy of Eric Brook's record of 178 and is likely to pass that tally in the opening months of the campaign.
Brook took 494 games to achieve the feat - Kun has so far made 253 appearances for the Blues, highlighting what an incredible feat it will be when he eventually does become the Club's record goal-scorer - which now seems inevitable.
On a personal level, seven more goals will also see him reach the 300 career goals milestone, so plenty of records to break for our talisman striker.