Everyone has struggled due to the pandemic and the associated lockdown, so the plight of Premier League football clubs hardly registers.

But within the privileged context of top-level football, Manchester City have had a stinker of a pre-season, beset by problems and unresolved issues.

The Blues seem to have hit difficulties at every turn as they gear up for a tough first game at Wolves.

Here are ten issues which have dogged the club in the build-up

Delayed start

City’s involvement in the Champions League tournament forced a delay of the season start by a week to ensure players got some meaningful time off. That means that the rest, apart from Manchester United, have had a week or more extra training.

And Uefa’s insistence on sticking with their Nations League schedule means the “break” was interrupted for almost the entire squad in any case, and that most City players have had less than two weeks together.

Covid tests

News that key defender Aymeric Laporte and winger Riyad Mahrez tested positive for Covid-19 and have had to self-isolate was a further disruption, and means both players are fitness doubts ahead of the trip to Molineux.

Foden trouble

The youngster’s disregard of the England squad’s Covid protocols was quite stupid, and for the first time he has been surrounded by a cloud of bad publicity. Whether that affects him remains to be seen, but it appears he has been forced to train alone after flouting the rules about the “bubble”.

Aguero injury

There were hopes last month that City’s all-time leading goalscorer might be fit for the later stages of the Champions League, had they not crashed out to Lyon.

But Kun has only just returned to the training pitch, where he has been working alone rather than with the group, which means he is still some time away.

The long recovery period is also a concern, with the club not planning to bring in a long-term replacement until next summer.

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Guardiola quarantine

The manager was in Barcelona visiting family and friends and had to self-isolate for 14 days on his return due to UK government restrictions.

That means he missed some key training sessions in preparation for the new season, perhaps even more important with new players to bed in.

Bernardo bother

Bernardo Silva limped out of Portugal’s win over Sweden last week after just 22 minutes.

The extent of the muscular injury has not been revealed – Pep Guardiola should do that later today (Friday) at his press conference.

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Centre back hunt

Guardiola will undoubtedly have wanted his squad in place before the season kicks off, but the hunt for a Vincent Kompany replacement is set to go to the transfer window wire on October 5.

City will not pay Napoli’s asking price for Kalidou Koulibaly, and are exploring other options, but it means City will start the season with converted midfielder Fernandinho or wantaway youngster Eric Garcia as their prime right-footed candidates.

Left back issue

This seems an eternal City problem, and with Ben Mendy yet to prove he is over his nagging injury doubts and form issues, ad Aleks Zinchenko still little more than an effective stop-gap, City could start with right back Joao Cancelo again being asked to do a job on the other side.

Messi distraction

City diplomatically kept out of the spat between the player and Barcelona, but the possibility of landing him, even though it was quashed by his U-turn, was certainly a distraction.

Pep contract

The fact that Guardiola’s current deal expires at the end of the season will become an increasingly distracting issue as the campaign progresses.

Both the manager and the club are relaxed about the matter at the moment, and say their focus is entirely on the football – but these things can be a niggle in the minds of players and staff.