Pep likely to go back to tried and trusted for­ma­tion

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By STU­ART BREN­NAN

STRIKER BACK

PEP Guardi­ola’s in­no­va­tive line-up at Old Traf­ford was very much aimed specif­i­cally at that one match - we pos­si­bly won’t see it again this sea­son.

A re­turn to a more con­ven­tional for­ma­tion is likely at Villa Park - and that means the re­turn of ei­ther Ser­gio Aguero or Gabriel Je­sus to the front line.

The two strik­ers had the un­fa­mil­iar sit­u­a­tion of be­ing to­gether on the sub­sti­tutes bench as Guardi­ola pitched in Kevin De Bruyne as a false nine sup­ported by Bernardo Silva, to ut­terly bam­boo­zle United.

One is al­most cer­tain to re­turn but will it be Aguero, on the brink of equalling Thierry Henry’s record as the high­est-scor­ing for­eign striker in English foot­ball his­tory or Je­sus, who spe­cialises in scor­ing away from the Eti­had Sta­dium? CEN­TRE BACKS

The sight of Aymeric La­porte back in full train­ing will glad­den Guardi­ola’s heart, but he has a cou­ple of weeks or so be­fore he will even be con­sid­ered.

Fer­nand­inho has made him­self a fix­ture in cen­tral de­fence, but his part­ner is any­body’s guess.

Eric Gar­cia has pos­si­bly moved up to sec­ond in the peck­ing or­der, even though Nico­las Ota­mendi’s ex­pe­ri­ence and suit­abil­ity to the City for­ma­tion saw him get the nod in the win at United.

John Stones was not even on the bench for the derby, which in­di­cates he could be fourth choice these days.

EDER­SON BACK

The Brazil goal­keeper will be wel­comed back by Manch­ester City fans who still can­not find it in them­selves to trust Clau­dio Bravo.

Eder­son has not played since City’s last so­journ to the Mid­lands on De­cem­ber 27, when he was sent off at Wolves.

BLUE MO­MEN­TUM

City are on a bit of a roll, hav­ing won eight of their last nine games and with the de­feat com­ing in a fine ten-man ef­fort at Wolves when they were win­ning un­til the last ten min­utes.

That kind of form is nec­es­sary to sus­tain any kind of chal­lenge to Liver­pool and keep in good nick for the re­sump­tion of the Cham­pi­ons League next month.

Eder­son is ex­pected back to­mor­row

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