Erling Haaland gets a Man City reality lesson from Kevin De Bruyne

Five things learned from yesterday's Community Shield defeat.

Haaland moment shows what he can offer City


Erling Haaland made a quiet domestic debut until a through-ball into the box set him up for his first one-on-one with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk. He deflected a challenge from Andy Robertson, shoving him to the ground, and created Manchester City’s first shot on goal of the game.

He lost Van Dijk in the area moments later and could have scored from close range, with other half-chances going begging. Haaland will be able to handle even the best Premier League defenders if his through-balls improve and crosses become more accurate. This was a quiet performance with a lot of promise and room for improvement.

De Bruyne pulls rank on Haaland


On the subject of improving those through-balls, one missed opportunity saw Kevin De Bruyne look to break through the centre, Haaland jumped the gun, and then took too long to get back onside. De Bruyne lost possession and walked off in a sulk, and as soon as play stopped, engaged Haaland in a lengthy talking to on the halfway line to make his point.

The same thing happened in Green Bay when Haaland tried to have a go at De Bruyne, and in Leicester the pair exchanged views on how the other should have done better. Both times, De Bruyne’s seniority won the argument. It will take time for that relationship to click, and the early evidence shows the two may need more work on the training ground to get on the same page.

Alvarez gets what he deserves


While most of City’s squad looked slightly behind Liverpool in fitness terms owing to their differing approaches to pre-season, Julian Alvarez has been playing non-stop since February and showed his superior fitness off the bench.

He was first to react when Phil Foden’s shot was saved to score his first goal in sky blue – giving City a scrappy poacher they’ve lacked since Sergio Aguero – and gave Liverpool problems as he partnered Haaland in a 4-4-2 formation at times in the second half. His pre-season performances deserved a goal, and he was the game-changer in the Community Shield until Mohamed Salah’s late penalty won it for Liverpool.

Ake stakes his claim


Nathan Ake deserved his start after doing well in the US and looked solid against Liverpool’s attack alongside Ruben Dias. John Stones, who didn’t travel to the US, was left on the bench, and Aymeric Laporte is out for a couple of months.

Ake was unlucky to deflect Trent Alexander-Arnold’s curler beyond Ederson but made up for that with a number of well-timed tackles and interceptions. With Dias giving away the decisive penalty and leaving Nunez unmarked for the third, Ake may go into the start of the Premier League season as City’s unlikely first-choice centre-back.

Captaincy hint before big vote


Pep Guardiola said he expects De Bruyne to be named captain when the players and staff vote for the leadership group this week, and he wore the armband in Houston when Dias was absent. But Dias is the highest-ranked ‘captain’ in the current leadership group from last season so led the team out at the King Power Stadium.

De Bruyne might be the longest-serving player, but might not be a shoo-in to be the next club captain as Guardiola expects

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