Manchester City 4-0 Barnsley: Riyad Mahrez shows he’s ready to fight £100m Jack Grealish for his place under Pep Guardiola as Algerian scores and lays on two assists in routine pre-season victory
- Manchester City hosted Barnsley on Saturday for a pre-season friendly match
- Riyad Mahrez was in good form, scoring a classy goal and assisting twice
- Sam Edozie, Ben Knight and Nathan Ake were the other scorers for City
Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City are still ‘far away’ with less than a week to go before their competitive season kicks off but at least Riyad Mahrez is playing like a man possessed.
More accurately, the Algerian winger is playing like a man who knows £100 million Jack Grealish could well be on his way to the Etihad this week.
With Grealish – and Tottenham striker Harry Kane – still very much top of Guardiola’s hit list, Mahrez could be the player to miss out if the Aston Villa man arrives.
Manchester City cruised to a 4-0 victory over Barnsley in a pre-season friendly on Saturday
Riyad Mahrez was in good form, assisting two goals and scoring his own brilliant effort
But in a behind closed doors friendly at City’s academy stadium, Mahrez laid on two and scored a brilliant third himself as his team blitzed Barnsley with three goals in 11 minutes.
After 23 minutes, Mahrez’s perfect low cross was tapped in by youngster Sam Edozie.
Then on the half-hour, Mahrez’s excellent pass found Joao Cancelo who centred for England youth striker Ben Knight to net.
And then Benjamin Mendy’s brilliant floated cross was met by an even more eye-catching first-time volley from Mahrez which flew past Brad Collins.
Pep Guardiola got the youngsters involved for the match, with England’s Ben Knight scoring
The young forward slotted in after Joao Cancelo squared to him, as Barnsley were dominated
Cole Palmer saw his penalty well saved before the break but defender Nathan Ake did add a fourth, scoring from close range after a 68th minute scramble.
Guardiola was also able to throw on returning Ilkay Gundogan and Aleksandr Zinchenko in the second half as his international stars make a gradual return but with the Community Shield clash with Leicester looming on Saturday, the City manager knows time is against him.
Guardiola said: ‘We don’t have much time but we give minutes and that is good. Today, half an hour for Alex and Gundo and we try to continue to do this.
‘We’re far away still. There are a lot of things to improve, that is good. Every training session – two or three more players come back tomorrow and then at the end of the week others.
‘So step by step they are starting to come back. The best way to get your condition and remember what we are is by playing games.’
City have hastily re-arranged another pre-season friendly against Championship opponents, with Blackpool visiting on Tuesday.
Nathan Ake was also on the score-sheet, as the defender looks to force his way into the team
There were star onlookers present for the friendly, as Kevin de Bruyne stopped by to watch