Best XI: City look like title contenders

New Manchester Ciy boss Pep Guardiola has inherited a world-class squad from Manuel Pellegrini. The Spaniard has already made a few good additions to the team that won the Premier League title in 2014 under Pellegrini and they are looking menacing heading into the new campaign.

City’s midfield has been bolstered with the signings of Ilkay Gündogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Borussia Dortmund and Ufa respectively, while Nolito was brought in from Celta Vigo to provide some extra impetus in attack.

The trio are unlikely to be the only arrivals at the Etihad Stadium during the current transfer window, but Guardiola has a wealth of talent and experience available to help his transition into the English game go smoothly.

Below we take a look at how the Citizens could line up for Guardiola’s first match in charge.

Goalkeeper: Joe Hart

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The England international did not have the best of tournaments at Euro 2016 as he was at fault for the goals scored by Wales forward Gareth Bale and, more damaging, Iceland striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson which resulted in the Three Lions’ shock exit at the last-16 stage. However, Hart is still the country’s top goalkeeper and kept 15 clean sheets in the Premier League last season, narrowly missing out to Petr Cech (16) in the race for the Golden Glove.

Right-back: Bacary Sagna

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A solid shift for hosts France at Euro 2016, where they reached the final, should earn Sagna at start at right-back ahead of Pablo Zabaleta in Guardiola’s starting XI. The Frenchman forced his way into Pellegrini’s plans in 2015 after struggling to break into the first team in his first season at City following his move from Arsenal .

Centre-back: Vincent Kompany

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When fit, the Belgium international is one of the best in the business. Unfortunately, Kompany has been dogged by injury throughout his career and a groin problem sustained towards the end of last season forced him to miss the European Championship. Injuries limited the City captain to just 14 Premier League appearances in the previous campaign, but he remains a shoe-in for the first team if he can stay fit.

Centre-back: Nicolás Otamendi

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The Argentina international enjoyed a decent debut season in the English top flight, despite making a shaky start. His understanding with Eliaquim Mangala at the back in the absence of Kompany got better as the campaign progressed and Otamendi made more league appearances (30) than any of the other centre-back at the club last term.

Left-back: Gaël Clichy

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The France international is more defensive-minded than Aleksandar Kolarov, although he has no qualms about providing support down the left flank in attack. Clichy had to play second fiddle to Kolarov last term, while he was kept out of Les Bleus’ starting line-up by Patrice Evra during their run to the Euro 2016 final, but he may well get the nod from Guardiola.

Central midfielder: Ilkay Gündogan

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The Germany international was Guardiola’s first signing at City and he will be hoping for better times in Manchester after an injury-ravished three seasons at Dortmund. But the former Bayern Munich head coach had seen enough of Gündogan during their time in Germany to recruit him for the Citizens and likely has a plan in mind for the playmaker.

Central midfielder: Yaya Touré

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There has been plenty of speculation surrounding the future of the Ivory Coast international following the announcement that Guardiola would succeed Pellegrini. City are still smiling at the Spaniard’s decision to sell Toure to them in 2010 as the midfielder was instrumental in their two title-winning campaigns in 2011/12 and 2013/14. It appears that the hatchet has been buried and Toure looks set to feature for Guardiola again.

Central attacking midfielder: David Silva

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One of City’s main creative forces, the Spain international will be eager to flourish under Guardiola after numerous injuries limited him to just 24 Premier League appearances last term. Silva has produced consistently-solid performances for the club since his arrival from Valencia in 2010 and was also an integral part of their two title successes.

Left forward: Nolito

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The Spain international was handed his Barcelona debut by Guardiola and won the La Liga title under his compatriot in 2011, although he hardly featured during their successful campaign. Nolito has gone on to make a name for himself at Celta Vigo, surpassing the 10-goal mark in each of his three years with Os Célticos, leading to a reunion with Guardiola at City.

Right forward: Kevin De Bruyne

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The Belgium international enjoyed an impressive debut season at the Etihad following his switch from Wolfsburg in 2015, although a knee injury sidelined him for a crucial period which coincided with the team suffering a slump to end their title chances. De Bruyne looked sharp during Euro 2016 and helped the Red Devils reach the quarter-finals, where they lost to Wales. Guardiola will be expecting big things from the attacking midfielder.

Striker: Sergio Aguero

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When fit, the Argentina international is one of the deadliest finishers in the game, as proven in recent seasons when he won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2015 before missing out by one goal the following year, with only Harry Kane out-scoring him in England’s top flight. Aguero did sit out 12 games with injury problems, though, and one wonders what might have been had the striker been injury-free.

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