Manchester City begin their Premier League title defence with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, and Pep Guardiola should unleash Jack Grealish from the start.
The new £100m signing was limited to an appearance from the bench against Leicester City in the Community Shield last weekend, and whilst the Citizens would go on to lose that game, Grealish showed glimpses of what he will offer City with his dribbling and passing technique.
As City will be without Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden for their trip to North London, the England international could be the man to unlock Nuno Espirito Santo’s defence, as only the Belgian contributed more key passes per game than City’s new signing in the top-flight last season.
You could also argue that the former Aston Villa man will have a point to prove against Spurs, after seeing a move to the Lilywhites break down in 2018 due to Daniel Levy’s refusal to pay the Villans’ £40m asking price, which would have perhaps proved to have been a bargain, in hindsight, considering his superb form since then.
Whilst the Spanish manager has several options on the wing available to him, Raheem Sterling didn’t feature at all in pre-season due to England reaching the final of the European Championships this summer, with Foden absent through injury for at least another month.
The City academy graduate sung Grealish’s praises earlier this week and suggested that he was looking forward to being in the same side as him, saying:
“He’s fearless on the ball. He can just change a game on his own, so I believe that he’s a really special player and he’s going to be key for us.”
Spurs are arguably weakest at right-back, with both Matt Doherty and Serge Aurier struggling to perform last season, so the £58.5m-rated beast could cause them all sorts of problems down the left and be Guardiola’s game-changer, in a game that City should be targeting three points from if they are to win the title again this season.
United set the marker on Saturday, so City must spark a reaction here – the inclusion of Grealish could well be key to their hopes of achieving that.
And, in other news… Guardiola provides injury update, City fans will be fuming