Sergio Aguero returned to Manchester City’s starting line-up to face Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-final first leg, but Kevin De Bruyne had to be content with a place on the bench as Fabian Delph and Riyad Mahrez were handed surprise starts.
Aguero sat out City’s past two matches against Cardiff City in the Premier League and last Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final win over Brighton and Hove Albion, having had his goalscoring contribution at Fulham 10 days ago curtailed by a muscular problem.
Pep Guardiola reported the Argentina forward was “better” at Monday’s pre-match news conference, meaning his inclusion at the expense of weekend goalscorer Gabriel Jesus was expected.
The same could not be said for other aspects of the City line-up, with influential playmaker Bernardo Silva a shock absentee from the matchday squad.
Here’s how we line-up in the #UCL tonight!
City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva (C), Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero
Subs | Muric, Kompany, Stones, De Bruyne, Sane, Jesus, Foden
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 9, 2019
Silva’s ex-Monaco team-mate Benjamin Mendy is also not in the 18, with England international Delph making only his second Champions League start of an injury-hit campaign.
City’s record signing Mahrez scored the winner when the sides met at Wembley in October but has failed to establish himself as a regular starter in his first season under Guardiola – meaning his selection ahead of Leroy Sane in a forward line alongside Aguero and Raheem Sterling represents a considerable show of faith from his manager.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham XI is, by contrast, more or less as expected.
Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko will anchor the midfield in the absence of Eric Dier, with Son Heung-min, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli supporting Harry Kane in attack at an expectant Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 9, 2019
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