Manchester City begin their International Champions Cup campaign in Pittsburgh on Sunday, looking to get off to a flying start against AC Milan in Pool B.
Coming into the tie fresh off the back of a 4-1 thumping of MLS champions Sporting Kansas City on Thursday, City will be full of confidence of defeating the shaky Serie A outfit, who have a few problems to address.
Milan were comprehensively outplayed by Olympiacos to kick off the ICC, losing 3-0, and they’ll need a big step up if they’re to give Manuel Pellegrini’s star-studded side any problems.
Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Date: Sunday, July 27
Time: 9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports 1 (U.K.)/Fox Sports 1 (U.S.)
Big Names Returning for Premier League Champions
When City breezed to victory against Sporting KC, they did so without the services of the club’s World Cup stars—making the victory that little bit more impressive.
However, as the club’s official website revealed, the cavalry will soon be arriving, with Joe Hart, James Milner, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko—whose nations exited the World Cup at the group stage—all coming on tour ahead of Sunday’s match.
Hart, though, will have a tough time getting a place back in City’s starting berth ahead of new signing Willy Caballero, who is doing all he can to prove that he’s the right man for the No. 1 shirt.
The Argentinian had been one of Malaga’s standout performers before making the switch to the Premier League, and he enjoyed a solid performance in Kansas on Thursday.
Caballero will likely keep his place in the City goal for the clash against AC Milan, and Adam Bate of Sky Sports believes that he could line up between the City sticks for the foreseeable future:
“The Argentine arrives at the Etihad Stadium as a man with a growing reputation after producing some eye-catching form for Malaga. Here is a talented goalkeeper with the profile to challenge for Hart’s job.”
Caballero deploys a Manuel Neuer-esque playing style, acting as a keeper sweeper, but he has the shot-stopping ability to back up such an adventurous approach.
However, he may not be in for the most lively of nights against AC Milan, who managed just four shots on target against Olympiacos in their first game, according to SoccerWay.
Milan just never looked like clicking into gear and scoring against the Greeks, and that’s unlikely to improve against City’s stubborn back line.
Pellegrini will be determined to begin the ICC with a victory to send a message out to the rest of the tournament, but he’ll likely field a very similar team to the one in Kansas despite new availability.
That’s all City may need, though, and it could be another fruitful day in the U.S. for the Premier League champions.
Prediction: AC Milan 0-2 Manchester City