Hearts vs. Manchester City: 6 Things We Learned
Manchester City travelled to Edinburgh on Friday evening to play their second pre-season warm-up game, this time against Hearts at Tynecastle. The match finished 2-1 to City, with goals from Scott Sinclair and Aleksandar Kolarov (pen).
Here's the City lineup in the first half: Wright, Richards, Leigh, Rekik, Nastasic, Zuculini, Navas, Garcia, Nasri, Sinclair, Negredo.
And the second: Caballero, Bossaerts, Kolarov, Denayer, Boyata, Rodwell, Fernando, Sinclair, Huws, Jovetic, Guidetti.
Here are six things we learned from the game.
1. Scott Sinclair Still Exists
The forgotten man at City over recent seasons has undoubtedly been Scott Sinclair. Signed during Roberto Mancini's ill-fated final summer in charge, he has barely figured for the first team and spent last season on loan at West Brom. He has played just 14 times for the Blues.
He's expected to leave this summer, but with no offers on the table, he's part of Manuel Pellegrini's thinking in preseason, and he scored a goal in this match. It's unlikely it'll spark a re-emergence at City, but it may well speed up his departure.
2. Emyr Huws Impresses
City's 20-year-old midfielder Emyr Huws was given a run out at Tynecastle, and he impressed hugely.
After his successful loan spell at Birmingham last season, there are high hopes he can become a first-team player. This was an assured performance from a young man whose confidence appears to be growing all the time.
Another loan this season would surely be advisable to continue the progress he's made in recent times. Could a Premier League club lower down the table fancy giving him a chance?
3. Jovetic Set for Big Season
Stevan Jovetic has endured a difficult time since he arrived from Fiorentina a year ago, but injuries aside, he's been superb almost every time he's played for City.
He showed flashed of his brilliance in this match, with that wonderful touch in evidence again. This will be a big season for him. If he stays fit, he could add something very special to an already talented squad.
4. Negredo Gets Excellent Run out Before Injury Concern
Another who is set for a big season is Alvaro Negredo, a player whose form fell away dramatically toward the end of last season.
He scored 23 goals in his first 32 games for the club before a 16-game drought soured his first campaign at the Etihad.
In Edinburgh, he was once again holding the ball up well, playing with his back to goal and looking to produce key through balls to the forwards. It was more like the Negredo from the first half of last season, which is good news for City.
However, he limped off just before half-time to cast a shadow over his evening.
5. City's Young Contingent Get Worthwhile Piece of Action
As well as Huws, there were other youngsters on display for City, and they each impressed. Karim Rekik looked excellent, and new signing Bruno Zuculini also showed some class.
Both could well spend this season on loan, but both clearly have futures in the City senior side.
6. Sharpness in the City Squad Increasing
Pre-season is all about gradually increasing the intensity and peaking just in time for the start of the season. Friday's win over Hearts was certainly a step up from the defeat to Dundee at the weekend.
City now head over to the US for four matches and a promotional drive. By the time they return, the season will almost be upon us and their match sharpness will need to reflect that.