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Manchester City vs Preston North End at Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium
27th July 2021 7:00 PM (BST)
  • 2 Manchester City

    • ‘25' Riyad Mahrez
    • ‘64' Samuel Edozie
  • 0 Preston North End


Commentary By George Kelsey


See you Saturday 👋

That's all from me, hope you've enjoyed tonight's outing as much as I have!

An assured and professional performance from a youthful City side, who played some intricate attacking football, grabbed two goals and kept a clean sheet - what's not to like?!

One final reminder that you can keep up to date with all of the reaction from Pep and a selection of our City stars across the evening and tomorrow morning on and our official app.

CITY+ is also the only place to watch Saturday's friendly with Barnsley, for more information about how to subscribe visit

Hopefully we'll be celebrating another confidence boosting win come Saturday but, until then, have a lovely week 💪


Tykes tussle on the horizon

It's a quick turnaround for City, as we host Barnsley on Saturday at the Academy Stadium.

Tonight's victory will have buoyed the lads ahead of that one, as we lock horns with a side who reached the Championship play-offs last season.

Once again, CITY+ is the only place to watch the action unfold, and a subscription costs just £1.99 per month.

 For further details about how to subscribe visit


🗣 Palmer on settling in to first team

"I’ve always felt at home since I went over to the first team last year, I felt really welcome.

"To be involved is good, I just need to keep going now."


🗣 Palmer on performance

"It was good to be back out there.

"I really enjoyed the game and hopefully it’s the start now for me and the team to have a good season.

"We came out and showed courage and bravery, we played well."


🗣 Pep on squad rest and rotation

"For everybody after a tough season, it was so demanding, and rest is important.

"Mentally, a lot of the players were in the Euros and Copa America, and they didn't have time (to recover), which is why they have to rest.

"I know we will have time, we have the Community Shield and we are going to try."


🗣 Onuoha on Edozie

"You have to be able to make runs, be dynamic, make it hard for the opposition.

"If you play the game and it’s in front of you as a defender, it’s the easiest game, but people like Edozie take the game to you.

"When they really take it down your throat like Edozie does, it’s horrible as a defender.

"The Preston right back’s probably thinking ‘what have I signed myself up for here?’ I absolutely love that directness."


"We played the City way"

🗣 Nedum Onuoha on Matchday Live: "We tried to play the game the right way, the City way.

"We gave it our all, competed and won the both halves, every credit to them."


Matchday Live 📺

Join Cel Spellman and Nedum Onuoha right now on all digital platforms as they digest our 2-0 friendly win.

We'll also be hearing the thoughts of both Pep and, time permitting, a player as well, so whack Matchday Live on, grab yourself a brew and get ready for plenty of reaction. 



City start pre-season with a win!

Riyad Mahrez's wonderful free-kick and Sam Edozie's impressive near-post finish are enough to earn City a 2-0 victory at the Academy Stadium.

The one blemish on an otherwise perfect evening was the unfortunate injury to Cieran Slicker, who we hope for a speedy recovery after being forced off in the second half after colliding with Tom Bayliss.

Job done 💪


Holding firm 💪

City's technical quality is obvious, but the past ten minutes or so have also demonstrated our discipline and strength of character.

Preston have enjoyed most of the play, and continue to try and spray balls into dangerous areas, but City are holding firm and working as a team to preserve the clean sheet.

🎙Shaun Goater: "The game is won, but this is all about development and learning"


Stoppage time

The lengthy delay following Slicker's injury means there are nine added minutes.

Preston have a free-kick in a promising position out on the right, but it's cleared by Gomes at the near-post.


Leaps like a Sandler

Another committed piece of defending from Sandler, who again is first to the aerial ball!

Matt Smith slides in to divert the subsequent ball in behind out for another corner.

No prizes for guessing who was first to the set piece...

Clue: It starts with Sand and ends with ler.


Holding firm ❌

Preston earn a free-kick in a promising area, but the ball is cleared at the near-post by Gomes.

The subsequent corner is put out of harms way by Sandler, who rises highest through a crowd of bodies.

Committed defending from 1-11.


Back underway

Play restarts after a lengthy delay, as Cieran is brought off on a stretcher to a round of applause.

We wish Cieran a speedy recovery, and hope he's back to his best as soon as possible!


City change 🔁

Steffen is brought back on for Slicker following the stopper's collision with Bayliss.

He goes straight over to the young goalkeeper to check on his condition, as he's seen to by the medical staff.

Here's hoping it's nothing too serious, and for a speedy recovery.


Collision course ❌

Slicker is off his line quickly to clear a ball in behind the City defence, beating the onrushing Bayliss to the ball.

His momentum sees him collide at full tilt with the Preston forward though, and both plays are sent sprawling onto the turf.

The stopper looks a bit groggy, and it looks like Steffen is stretching off ready to come back on as a precaution...


Preston chance

Van Den Berg whips a dangerous ball into the near post for the visitors but Maguire can't make contact.

The forward's blushes are spared though, with City keeping a disciplined defensive line to catch him offside.


Bolt from the Blue ⚡️

Bolton sells Barkhuizen for a dummy, before switching the ball inside to Smith.

Confident play from the youngster in what has been a very mature performance from City so far.

🎙Shaun Goater: "The dummy was that good, I felt for it!"


Slick City

Exquisite passing play on show from City, who are zipping the ball around delightfully.

The ball switches from right to left, and Edozie whips a dangerous ball right across the face of the Preston goal.

Excellent wing play from the 18-year-old, but nobody in the middle can quite get a touch.


🔁 Substitutions

City On: Cieran Slicker
City Off: Zack Steffen

Preston On: Bauer, Browne, Maguire, Riis
Preston Off: Lindsay, Barkhuizen, Potts, Evans

Keeping up with pre-season subs can be like spinning a LOT of plates... with a blindfold 🤦‍♂️


Double trouble

McAtee creates, Edozie finishes!

The midfielder checks back onto his right before playing a clever reverse pass into the winger.

Edozie smacks home at the near post to double our lead after the Preston defence are compeltely wrong-footed.

Fantastic goal from a fantastic young player!



Ryan Ledson intercepts a pass out from the back by Steffen, stealing in ahead of Couto.

The midfielder looks to chip the rapidly back-peddling stopper, but can only find the roof of the net.

A let off for City, but now is certainly the time to make those mistakes and learn from them!


Couto corner

More joy for Edozie and Roberts, who combine to quickly zip the ball around the edge of the Preston box from left to right.

Roberts lays the ball back into the path of Couto, who tries his luck through a crowd of bodies and wins a corner for his efforts.


City chance

Edozie picks up play on the left and drives forward into the box.

The winger pulls the trigger, but can only find Ripley, who smothers at the second attempt.

City beginning to find our feet in this second half.


Preston chance

A first sight of goal in the second half for the Lilywhites, as Potts rises highest to meet a cross from the right.

But the Preston man, under pressure from Couto, can't divert his header on target.

An evenly-match second 45 thus far as we approach the hour...


Weather the storm ☂️

From a tentative sun to teeming rain in the space of ten minutes - who doesn't love a British summer?

Here's hoping it'll be raining goals soon...


Positive play

Preston are pressing high to try and steal possession in a dangerous area, but City are weathering the storm.

In true Pep Guardiola style, each and every player wants the ball, and is comfortable picking up play in tight areas.

High intensity, positive play from the hosts.


Defensive acumen

Sandler reads the danger and gets an important touch on a ball in behind the City defence to prevent a Preston attack.

McAtee eventually picks up play, but is fouled before he can drive forward.


Wing play

Edozie brings Steffen's ball out to the left under his spell and races towards the Preston defence.

The winger is brought down in a promising position, with Moreno and Roberts standing over the free-kick...


Wholesale changes

It'd be easier to just say that Zack Steffen is the only City player who hasn't been rotated at the break, but my parents didn't raise a quitter!

On: Sandler (C), Roberts, Couto, Moreno, Edozie, Smith, Bolton, Gomes, McAtee, Burns

Off: Cancelo, Ake, Dias, Mendy, Fernandinho, Pozo, Palmer, Rogers, Knight, Mahrez.


🗣Onuoha on team ethic

"That’s the system. That’s the role.

"You can be disappointed if you don’t get the ball, but the system depends on you making selfless runs.

"City aren’t about ego, it’s about doing your role well."


🗣Onuoha on Cole Palmer

"He is certainly showcasing his talent.

"There was only one moment when I thought he gave the ball away easily.

"He is handling the ball really well.

"The difference between my time and now is they handle the ball really well under pressure."


🗣 Nedum Onuoha reaction

"It’s not been the smoothest game, so City haven't been at the absolute best.

"Ben Knight has been good through the middle.

"When City go on the attack they change the tempo and the front three have been part of that."


Half-time ⌚

So far so good for City!

Riyad Mahrez's inch-perfect free-kick has us ahead of the break in our first pre-season match of the campaign.

It's been far from one way traffic though, with Zack Steffen having to be at his best to cut out a couple of half-chances for Preston.

Hear half-time reaction from Cel Spellman and Nedum Onuoha right now on Matchday Live, available on all digital platforms.


Close from Cole

Terrific move from City.

Mahrez picks out Mendy's run to the byline, and the full-back heads the ball back into the path of the unmarked Palmer.

The young winger skies his close-range, first-time effort over the bar, but that chance will give Pep Guardiola's men renewed confidence heading towards the break.


Super Steffen

Another sharp piece of goalkeeping from Steffen, this time thwarting an incisive low ball in from the right with a diving save.

Our stopper had to get there, otherwise Barkhuizen surely had a tap-in.


Warning shot

A chance for the visitors.

Barkhuizen beats the offside line and looks to be racing in on goal from the halfway line.

However, Steffen is out like a shot to expertly slide in at the feet of the forward and clear.

Alert goalkeeper from our US international.


Riyad on the rampage

Mahrez finds some more joy down the right, jinking his way to the byline.

His cross takes a deflection, zipping up into the air and forcing Ripley to divert around the post.

The Algerian looks like he's enjoying himself so far.


Zack at the back

Ryan Ledson tries his luck from distance on the volley from the edge of the box.

The former Everton man gets plenty of power on his low drive, but Steffen is behind the effort to keep it at 1-0.


City gaining control

That goal has further asserted City's dominance, with Palmer and Mendy combining well down the left.

The ball ricochets into the path of Rogers, but his effort from outside the area deflects into the path of Ripley, who calmly collects.


Fantastic free-kick

A terrific goal from Mahrez, who curls the ball up and over the wall and into the top corner of Ripley's net.

The Preston stopper hesitated for a split second, conscious that our winger could try his luck on the 'keeper's side but even so, that was unstoppable.

What a way to kick off our pre-season campaign!


J'ow Cancelo

Cancelo and Ched Evans tussle for an aerial ball, but the Preston forward catches our Portuguese defender as he rises.

Nothing serious, but that one'll sting. City immediately get things back underway.


Cancelo'd out

Preston carve out a decent opportunity, with Barkhuizen looking to pick up play inside the area.

However, Joao Cancelo does well to lever the ball away from the forward and snuff out the danger.

Excellent defending from the Portuguese international.


City go close

Knight charges in after being threaded through by Pozo.

The forward looks to dink the ball past the onrushing Connor Ripley, but the Preston stopper does well to smother his effort on goal.

City are finding our feet now!


Possession is 9/10 of the law

A sustained period of possession for City, who are stroking the ball around delightfully at the moment.

Fernandinho lights the spark, chipping the ball in behind to Mahrez on the right, but the winger is caught offside.


Close 😰

Knight finds a pocket of space in the centre circle and releases Pozo, who makes an intelligent run in behind the Preston defence.

A timely interception cuts out the danger, but it's another sign of City beginning to make things tick.


High and wide

Tom Barkhuizen goes toe to toe with Ruben Dias down the left of the box, but the Portuguese defender shows him wide.

The forward tries his luck regardless, but his near-post effort was never going to trouble Steffen.


Preston pressure

The visitors' first foray forward is sparked by a loose pass from Mahrez just inside the City half.

However, Ake is on hand to cut out the danger and play the ball back to Steffen.

Calm and composed defending.


Offside ❌

Mahrez has the ball in the net from the right, but the flag goes up for an offside in the build-up.

The Algerian grabbed 14 goals in all competitions last season, he's going to have to wait a bit longer to get off the mark this time round.


Bright start ⭐️

Riyad Mahrez plucks a long pass out of the air on the right and releases Iker Pozo.

The midfielder forces a corner inside the opening minute. A bright start from City!


Action approaching 🤞

Out come the teams, with Fernandinho leading the lads onto the pitch.

It’s 59 days since Pep Guardiola’s men last stepped over the white line, incase any of you were interested…

No? Fair enough.


🎵Tuning up

Ed Sheeran's latest track blasts out of the Academy Stadium tannoy as Pep and his staff take their seats in the dugout.

Here's hoping City can create some sweet music out on the pitch tonight.

Sorry, couldn't resist.


Hotting up 🔥

The teams have gone back in to get kitted up before the match gets underway.

Kick-off is palpably close now - pre-season starts here 🙌

Remember, CITY+ is the only place that you can follow every kick, so be sure to join our commentary team of Alistair Mann and Shaun Goater.

For further details about how to subscribe visit


🗣 Jon Macken on Preston

“For Preston, they have had a few matches already this summer, but they will be thrilled and excited at the thought of playing City.

“Preston have always been a side renowned for trying to play the right way. Their attitude will be spot on regardless of the fact it’s a pre-season friendly.

“As professionals, that desire is there whether it’s a league game, a pre-season friendly or a five a side match!

“I think it be a brilliant showcase for both sides.”


Pre-season experiences 💭

Shaun Goater on Matchday Live 👇

"For me, one of me worst pre-seasons, I got married and went on honeymoon. I went on a cruise and put on a stone.

"I would have been fined two weeks wages if i didn’t lose half of it in two weeks! I was doing everything. The other one was Lee Crooks. He didn’t make, he got fined.

"Nedum mentioned gruelling runs, we din’t have any sports science. It was; 'See that tree 10 miles away, run round it and get back in a certain time.'"


Broadcast information 📺

A reminder that the only place to watch tonight's pre-season friendly is on CITY+.

A subscription costs just £1.99 per month and includes the live stream of selected Women’s, EDS and Academy matches throughout the season, as well as full-match replays of all Men’s and Women’s games.

It will also grant you access to this Saturday's pre-season friendly against Barnsley, which is also being exclusively shown on our streaming service.

 For further details about how to sign up, visit


City starlet ⭐️

Morgan Rogers

A versatile forward, Morgan joined the Club from West Bromwich Albion in 2019, immediately hitting the ground running for our EDS side.

He again looked set to play a key role in our 2020-21 Premier League 2 campaign, helping to lift the FA Youth Cup, before taking on the opportunity of a spell on loan with Lincoln City in League One.

It was a rousing success, with the 19-year-old grabbing six goals and being voted as EFL League One Young Player of the Month for March as the Imps reached the play-offs.

An exciting and explosive talent capable of providing a spark at any moment, he starts for Pep Guardiola's men this evening.


🗣The Goat's message to City's youngsters

"Go and enjoy yourself and express yourselves. You are good players. 

"There are also senior players alongside them like Fernandinho who, if they do drop the standards, will tell them to step it up."


City starlet ⭐️

Yan Couto

An attacking right-back, Yan joined the Club in the summer of 2020 after breaking into the first team at Brazilian outfit Coritiba FC.

The 19-year-old spent last season on loan at Girona, enjoying a hugely successful spell as they finished fifth in the second tier of Spanish football.

Whilst he regularly demonstrated his defensive qualities, the Brazilian also added vital width to the Blanquivermells’ attack from the right flank, with his agility and low centre of gravity blending perfectly with his impressive technical ability.

Expect explosive runs in behind, quick one-touch passing and incisive, positive play from our exciting 19-year-old.


🗣 Jon Macken on young players’ opportunities

“I know that when I was a youngster, games like this represented a big opportunity and a great showcase for you to try and put yourself forward.

“Pep and the coaches obviously know an awful lot about the younger lads but games like this give those boys the opportunity to put their hand up in a matchday environment.

“So it will be a fantastic experience for the younger guys to try and show what they are really about.

“It will also be excellent for Preston and their players to experience coming up against such a special team as City.”


🗣 Onuoha on different pre-season management styles

"It is about fitness, it is about getting things tactically right, but that is when you have a good manager.

"I have had loads of managers who want to break you from minute one. 

"They were the longest weeks of my life!"

Tune in to Matchday Live right now for further pre-game analysis - available on all of our digital platforms.


City starlet ⭐️

Iker Pozo

Iker joined the Club from Real Madrid in 2012, working his way through the ranks before becoming a key part of City’s Under-18s and EDS sides.

A defensive midfielder by trade, the 20-year-old is already a master at maintaining tempo from deep, using his excellent reading of the game and technical prowess to great effect.

Iker spent last season on loan at FC Eindhoven in Holland’s second tier to get a further taste of senior football after regularly featuring in the EFL Cup for City.

He’ll be ready and raring to go after getting his chance this evening!


🗣Shaun Goater on players' pre-season perspective

"It’s a little bit different nowadays but in my time it was about getting minutes.

"You are playing your first game you want to be strong up to 80 minutes at least if possible. It is about getting your fitness, getting your minutes under your belt. 

"For managers it is about players understanding tactical things he might explore throughout the season, but it is about fitness."


City starlet ⭐️

Ben Knight

Joining the Club in 2018 from Ipswich Town, Ben has worked his way up from the Under-18s - where he was crucial to our 2019 Premier League Cup triumph - to become an important member of our EDS squad.

A diminutive forward with excellent close control and vision, the 19-year-old is able to play through the centre or out wide as part of a front three.

His efforts were rewarded earlier this month, when he penned a three-year deal that will run until the end of June 2025.


Matchday Live 📺

Join Cel Spellman, Shaun Goater and Nedum Onuoha right now for all of the buildup to today's clash with Preston!

Essential viewing to get you in the matchday mood.


Team News 🔵📋

Here's how we line-up for our first match of the 2021-22 season 👇

CITY XI: Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Mendy, Fernandinho (C), Pozo, Knight, Palmer, Rogers, Mahrez

SUBS: Slicker, Sandler, Roberts, Couto, Moreno, Edozie, Egan Riley, Charles, Smith, Bolton, Gomes, McAtee, Hamilton, Burns


🗣The former City and Preston forward has had his say on tonight's clash

Jon Macken 👇

“I think it’s the perfect pre-season fixture for City.

“It will be a real challenge which is what you want but you look at City and the wonderful players they have and there is quality everywhere.

“From City’s perspective, it will just be good to get back involved in a match situation while for Preston it’s a fantastic prospect and very exciting.

“When you come back to pre-season the first focus is obviously on your sharpness and fitness, but you can’t wait for that first game to get back into the matchday vibe.

“I think that’s what all the City boys will be really looking forward to and they will be chomping at the bit to the back out there in game mode."


Head to head record 📋

In total, City have won 43 of our 94 clashes with Preston, drawing 18 and losing 33 since our first encounter back in 1897.

Since facing each other during our 1998-99 Division Two play-off winning campaign - our first clash with the Lilywhites since 1966 - we have locked horns on six occasions, winning three, drawing one and losing two.

The visitors’ last victory in this fixture came in October 2001 when a Jon Macken wonder strike helped David Moyes’ side win 2-1 at Deepdale.

Despite defeat that day, City would be promoted from Division One at the end of the campaign, with Kevin Keegan’s side amassing 99 points en route to the title.


The opposition 🥊

Preston finished 13th in the Championship last season, but ended the season with a flourish, winning four of their final five matches.

Frankie McAvoy’s side have played a number of pre-season friendlies so far, most recently drawing 1-1 away to Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Former City trio Greg Cunningham, Scott Sinclair and Ched Evans all now ply their trade for the Lilywhites as well, so there could be some familiar faces on show tonight.


Matchday Live

You can also get in the mood ahead of kick-off by tuning in to our live match day show from 6:00pm (UK) - returning under the new name, Matchday Live.

Like We’re Not Really Here before it, Matchday Live offers a plethora of insightful analysis and lighthearted humour, all with a City-centric twist.

Nedum Onuoha and Shaun Goater will be our special guests for Tuesday’s edition, which is available to view on all our digital platforms.

The former City duo will offer their thoughts ahead of our clash with Preston before once again reconvening for half-time and post-match debriefs.

Essential viewing in my not so humble opinion... 👀


Broadcast Information 📺

With this evening’s clash being played behind closed doors as a COVID-19 safety precaution, CITY+ is the only place that will be showing live pictures of our clash with Preston.

A CITY+ subscription costs just £1.99 per month and includes the live stream of selected Women’s, EDS and Academy matches throughout the season, as well as full-match replays of all Men’s and Women’s games.

It also grants access to exclusive CityTV productions, including the Shaun Wright-Phillips: City’s Homegrown Hero and Kevin De Bruyne: Made in Belgium.

For further details about how to subscribe visit


Hello 👋

And welcome to Manchester City’s first pre-season outing of the 2021-22 season.

We face Preston North End at the Academy Stadium, with kick-off just 90 minutes away!

Euro 2020 and the Copa America were great, but there’s just something a bit special about the prospect of watching Pep Guardiola’s men in action once again.

Stick around for plenty of pre-match buildup, including some of our previous outings against the Lilywhites, as well as team news in half an hour.


Join us later!

Join us from 5:30pm BST for live text updates. 

Our live show will appear here from 6pm - and CITY+ subscribers can watch all the action LIVE. 

You won't miss a beat. 

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