Fears about Manchester City suffering second season syndrome after such a fine Premier League season last year appear to be unfounded after a solid display against Chelsea in the Community Shield.
They ran out easy 2-0 victors against a weak opposition, showing their continued dominance over their rivals.
One player to stand out for Pep Guardiola’s team was centre-back John Stones who continued his fine form from the World Cup in Russia where he was one of England’s strongest performers.
The 24-year-old has shown such promise in previous seasons but has been prone to errors and being caught out at the back when venturing forward.
Guardiola is never one to settle with his squad and he showed with the young pairing of Stones and Aymeric Laporte that he is ready to reinvent the team despite only having brought in Riyadh Mahrez this summer.
The ageing and slowing pair of Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi were left out on Sunday and Guardiola was rewarded by a fine performance from the new centre-back pairing which hints at his intentions for the season ahead.
Stones played as Guardiola would expect his cente-backs would play, getting on the ball and being heavily involved in the game, as shown by the fact that he had more touches than any other player on the pitch.
Stones attempted a massive 91 passes during the match and was successful with all but four of them, showing the huge influence Pep Guardiola has had on his game.
His defensive duties were not neglected either, although this was helped by the impotence of Chelsea’s attack.
The England defender registered two tackles, three clearances and four interceptions in 90 minutes and Chelsea didn’t look close to breaking down the stubborn City defence.
It may have only been the Community Shield and there is a very long season ahead for both City and Stones, but his performance shows the player he has become and it certainly bodes well for club and country as he continues his development under one of the world’s top coaches.