Stones dropped, De Bruyne back
The latest episode of ‘Pep roulette’ has seen defender John Stones dropped to the bench for the returning Ruben Dias.
🚨 TEAM NEWS 🚨
XI | Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Mahrez, Bernardo, Foden, Sterling (C), Jesus
SUBS | Steffen, Stones, Aguero, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Torres, Mendy, Fernandinho, Garcia
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 17, 2021
Diaz had missed the midweek game due to illness and Pep Guardiola explains that it was purely a fever that saw the Portuguese international miss the match against Spurs.
“Ruben had a fever,” he said. “He still has some problems with the stomach. That’s why he couldn’t train yesterday,” he said.
Stones has missed just 2 of the last 15 games and become a key figure for Guardiola. Having experienced some tricky periods, the Spanish coach appreciates how Stones has overcome these problems.
“John overcame the situation himself and that’s why he deserves all my respect and he deserves a big compliment,” he said.
Kevin De Bruyne also returned to the City bench ahead of their Champions League commitments next week and Arsenal at the weekend.
Gabriel Jesus earns start
A positive inclusion to the line-up for the match against Everton is Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian forward has needed to be patient for opportunities this season after Pep Guardiola has decided to give other players more chances as a central striking option including that of Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres.
The fitness of Sergio Aguero was thought to open the door for Jesus. Aguero has been injured for the best part of the year and Guardiola admitted that he can only be an option from the bench at the moment.
“Sergio has been injured for a year, so cannot start from the beginning but is ready to come back. He was on the bench for the last game and will be again. When he can return he will do,” he said.
However, even with Aguero’s problems, Jesus has suffered with injury and illness himself but the Spanish coach spoke glowingly of him after his goal against Swansea.
“He could have scored more but he played really well again,” said Guardiola after the win against Swansea in the FA Cup.
“He was incredible at Anfield when he didn’t play. He was incredibly supportive to his mates. When he plays he always plays good. It’s important for strikers to score. He was brilliant, really brilliant.”
Eyes will be on the forward to see if he can cement his place in the side.
Stones dropped, De Bruyne backThe latest episode of ‘Pep roulette’ has seen defender John Stones dropped to the bench for the returning Ruben Dias. 🚨 TEAM NEWS 🚨 XI | Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Mahrez, Bernardo, Foden, Sterling (C), Jesus SUBS | Steffen, Stones, Aguero, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Torres, Mendy, Fernandinho, Garcia 📋Football (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed