Manchester City and Arsenal set for opening pre-season matches

Manuel Pellegrini is preparing for his first match in charge of the club still bereft of the strikeforce he craves, while the Gunners travel to Indonesia without any new faces
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini will take charge of his first match since arriving at the Etihad Stadium in June, as the Premier League runners-up face SuperSport United on Sunday.

The Chilean will preside over his maiden game as City boss from the dugout of the Loftus Versefeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, and insists his side's performance is more important than the result.

"For me, as the coach, it’s not important to win,” Pellegrini told reporters. “We’re not trying to win that much against the team we have to play on Sunday or Thursday [when City face AmaZulu FC in Durban].

"It’s important that all the players have a similar average of minutes so we can work the whole month of July with the whole squad and not just with the team trying to win one match."

10/1 Manchester City are 10/1 with bet365 to beat SuperSport 4-0
Similarly, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is hoping a fixture against an Indonesia Dream Team can put his squad through their paces in Central Jakarta.

"We are very happy to be here," said the 63-year-old. "We've never been here before so we want to give happiness to all our fans here. I'm sure we can leave here with great memories.

"I don't know much about the Indonesian team, but I expect them to make us suffer! Because Asian players are quick, agile and mobile and we are at the start of the season."

New City signing Fernandinho has been included in the squad that has travelled to South Africa and is expected to make his debut, while Jesus Navas is unavailable due to his involvement in the Confederations Cup.

Pellegrini insists the club need further reinforcements, particularly in the striking department, and Goal understands they are closing in on Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo and Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic.

"We need strikers," said Pellegrini. "[Mario] Balotelli and [Carlos] Tevez were here last season, two very important strikers, and we need to replace them. We’re trying to bring in at least one."

But while City can at least parade one new signing, Arsenal's inactivity in the summer transfer window means there will be no new faces on show in their Asian tour – with Yaya Sanogo on holiday after winning the Under-20 World Cup with France.

A deal for Gonzalo Higuain has yet to materialise, despite Arsenal making an improved offer, and the Gunners have now also targeted Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

Arsenal have had a couple of light training sessions since touching down in Indonesia, where they were greeted by thousands of fans on Friday, while City's new boss has been putting the team through their paces with a rigorous triple-session training regime.