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Arsenal vs. Manchester City

50-50 Challenge Aug 8, 2014
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Aug 10, 2014

Pellegrini: No Joe Hart guarantees

Manuel Pellegrini says his Manchester City side weren't at full strength after they lost the FA Community Shield to Arsenal

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said there were no guarantees that England No. 1 Joe Hart would be in goal when the Premier League season kicks off next weekend.

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Hart was an unused substitute as Willy Caballero was preferred in the Premier League champions' starting XI for the 3-0 Community Shield loss to FA Cup winners Arsenal at Wembley.

"All the 22 players that we have in our squad must demonstrate who is No. 1 in all positions," Pellegrini said.

"The goalkeeper and the other positions of the team are exactly the same.

"Joe finished last season playing very well. We'll see next Sunday which XI starts against Newcastle [in the Premier League]."

With captain Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and numerous other established members of the first-choice lineup watching from the stands, City's fringe players did little to impress at Wembley.

Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud were on target as the Gunners sauntered to victory.

Pellegrini insisted he selected players who had been available throughout the summer and that the season curtain-raiser was another opportunity to assess his squad, with a decision to be made next week on whether those back from World Cup duty can play at St James' Park.

He said: "It was not the day today to make pressure for different players. It was one game more for preseason.

"We have seven players who have just worked for five days. They were not considered for this game. We have another five players who have just worked for eight or nine days.

"It's difficult to be ready in two weeks. Aguero, [Pablo] Zabaleta, [Martin] Demichelis, Kompany, [Bacary] Sagna, Fernandino -- they just arrived seven days ago. They started working on Monday.

"They will have 15 days before we start the Premier League, so we'll see during the week which of them are ready and which of them are not ready."

Pellegrini said he had been encouraged by the second-half showing after a poor first 45 minutes.

He added: "We had two different faces. First half we didn't play with the pace we did the whole preseason, and Arsenal scored two goals because we didn't defend very well.

"The second half we played well, with possession of the ball, we had chances to score. It was really near to the team that I saw in pre-season.

"It is always bad to lose, but we don't need to worry."

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