Haaland on the bench for Villa test

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It wasn’t Erling Haaland’s best game at the weekend against Arsenal, but it’s still a surprise to see Pep Guardiola benching the world’s best striker for a must-win game against Aston Villa.

With Champions League games ahead as well as the Premier League run-in, the Catalan clearly feels that by brining in Julian Alvarez in Haaland’s stead, it will allow the Norwegian to rest for what will be the most crucial part of the season, without any drop off in attacking standards.

Alvarez has shown time and again since being at the club that he’s the man for the big occasion.

Haaland benched for Villa visit

Unai Emery’s Villa will certainly have their work cut out at the Etihad Stadium.

The 0-0 draw with Arsenal was the first time in three years that City didn’t score at home, so they’ll surely be champing at the bit to put the Villains to the sword.

With Ederson still injured Stefan Ortega keeps goal, and he’ll be protected by a strong back four of Rico Lewis, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias and Josko Gvardiol.

A front six of Rodrigo, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Jeremy Doku, Jack Grealish and Alvarez are surely going to give Aston Villa a thorough test of their own credentials, not forgetting of course that the visitors are looking for the points to help them finish in the Champions League places.

With Arsenal having kicked off 45 minutes before this one, everyone at the stadium will know what needs to be done well before the final whistle, so if City are still struggling to get going, the Etihad Stadium faithful can play their part.

Should the Gunners and the Cityzens both end their respective matches with the three points, it puts the pressure right back on Liverpool, who host Sheffield United on Thursday.

Source link: Caughtoffside

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