When Manchester City take on Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium Sunday, the Citizens will be without several key players.
Chief among the absentees will be recent additions Frank Lampard and Bacary Sagna, according to Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News:
Along with Lampard and Sagna, City manager Manuel Pellegrini announced that six more players will not suit up due either to recently returning from the World Cup or injuries, per Dawson:
All the players that arrive this Monday, (Martin) Demichelis. Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Sagna, Fernandinho, Lampard and (Sergio) Aguero, they have a special preseason this week and next week. ... (Alvaro) Negredo has at least two or three months that he won't play. He is coming to Carrington again and he is working on different things.
After 13 seasons at rival club Chelsea, Lampard makes the jump to Man City in 2014. The 36-year-old English star recently signed with New York City FC of the MLS and will play for the Citizens on loan until the start of the next MLS campaign, according to The Guardian.
Manchester City is NYCFC's parent club, and Lampard is looking forward to playing for them during the upcoming season.
Joining up with Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me to continue to train and play at the top level and make sure I am in top condition for New York City. It has been an amazing few days for me since the unveiling in Brooklyn and everyone connected with both clubs has been fantastic to me. This is a new chapter of my career and I'm really excited about the experience.
Pellegrini is excited about Lampard's arrival as well and it is easy to see why based on these career stats, courtesy of the Premier League on Twitter:
As for Sagna, he spurned Arsenal in favor of Manchester City this offseason after seven years with the Gunners. Many fans were looking forward to seeing Sagna take on his old club, but that will have to wait until the regular season.
Despite the fact that so many excellent players will be missing from Manchester City's lineup, this still promises to be an excellent match between two of the top teams in the world.
City have plenty of depth, so they will still be able to compete. At the same time, Arsenal may view this as a golden opportunity to take advantage of one of their biggest rivals and win a trophy in the process.
Pellegrini is taking a cautious approach with his stars to ensure that they are ready for the start of the EPL season, and he has every right to do precisely that.
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