Manchester City

Guardiola can afford to ease De Bruyne and Sterling back into Manchester City’s starting XI

Guardiola can afford to ease De Bruyne and Sterling back into Manchester City’s starting XI

Manchester City begin their title defence today away at Arsenal, and manager Pep Guardiola has almost a full strength squad to choose from

And two players Guardiola could select are Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling. Despite their late returns due to the World Cup, both De Bruyne and Sterling are likely to start or feature at some point in the club’s Premier League opener.

The Breakdown

Guardiola told reporters ahead of the game: “They [De Bruyne and Sterling] are available. Raheem and Kevin arrived quite well. Three weeks off is not too much time after the World Cup and both arrived in the perfect way.” (via Metro)

De Bruyne and Sterling were two of Manchester City’s best players last season in the club’s record-breaking title-winning campaign, so having them available for such a huge clash will come as a massive boost to Guardiola.

The former Bayern Munich manager, however, is in a position where he can afford to slowly integrate the pair back into the side if necessary — even with a trip to the Emirates on the horizon.

Manchester City can take confidence in the fact that they were able to easily dispose of Chelsea in the Community Shield in the absence of De Bruyne and Sterling and showed that day how scary their squad depth really is.

Chelsea, of course, are going through a transitional period with Maurizio Sarri now in the Stamford Bridge dugout. But that does not make Manchester City’s spectacular performance any less relevant.

Bernardo Silva, in particular, was superb in the Citizens’ triumph at Wembley.

The Portugal international is just one player who Guardiola could call upon should he opt against starting either of De Bruyne or Sterling against Arsenal, while new signing Riyad Mahrez is also another option for the Manchester City boss.

In Bernardo and Mahrez, Guardiola has two players capable of filling in for De Bruyne and Sterling until they are at one hundred percent.

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