Pep likely to go back to tried and trusted formation
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.
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.
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