4 things were spotted when Man City beat Yokohama Marinos that made Pep Guardiola have a headache about transfer plans

A look at the Manchester City talking points from their first friendly of their pre-season tour as they beat Yokohama F Marinos 5-3

Kovacic leaves pundits purring

The sight of Kovacic making runs beyond Julian Alvarez to get on the end of long passes over the top early on against Yokohama F Marinos, or trying to play the Argentine in, showcased what he can bring to the City attack as he looks to take up some of the burden of replacing Ilkay Gundogan. Manchester City had only played about 15 minutes of their first friendly with the new recruit but the club’s commentary team had already seen enough of him to be impressed.

He was labelled on commentary as a shrewd signing and someone who has all the qualities to make it as a City player, one who seemed as though he had been playing in the team for much longer. A positive start for a player who will likely have very big shoes to fill in the No.8 roles this season.

Cancelo comes back to the party

While City were busy winning the Treble last season, Joao Cancelo was exiled to Munich after falling out with Guardiola to such an extent that he was shipped out on loan for the second half of the campaign. To make matters worse, when he met his parent club in the Champions League quarters, he was booed in Manchester and subjected to chants of ‘City reject’ in the return leg.

Even though a temporary return to the group is anticipated, Cancelo has taken the tour and has been given 45 minutes to remind everyone of what he is capable of doing. Erling Haaland scored the fifth goal by tapping in a beautiful ball across after there were maybe a few too many efforts at a nutmeg for the first-team coaches to like.

It does at least give City something to think about as they plan for the campaign.

Walker captains City after Bayern stunt

With Gundongan gone and Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias not picked in the starting XI, it was only natural that Kyle Walker captained the team. It will not have been lost on anyone in Munich and beyond to see City come out fighting with their right-back.

Pep Guardiola really does not want to lose Walker despite Bayern’s interest and playing him as captain in the first pre-season friendly was an indication of that. It obviously doesn’t make up for not starting him in the Champions League final, yet it was still telling.

Bayern are City’s next opponents and a German journalist went viral after presenting a Bayern shirt with Harry Kane’s name on it in a Tottenham press conference, leaving manager Ange Postecoglou unimpressed as he attempts to hold onto the England striker. If that made attention for the German papers, you suspect there will have been some coverage of how City used Walker.

Phillips struggles

Kalvin Phillips is intent on making it at City but endured another difficult night wearing blue. Starting in the holding midfield role, Phillips struggled to keep the ball in the entire 45 minutes he was on the pitch and was culpable in both of the goals that the team conceded in that time; he could not react quickly enough for the first and collided with Walker after giving the ball away for the second.

It is only the first game of pre-season game and it was only one half of that, yet it was an opportunity to impress missed even if he did help City get on the scoresheet by charging down the goalkeeper.

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