Manchester City will negotiate this weekend’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa without the services of derby hero Sergio Aguero.
Manuel Pellegrini revealed Friday that his City side would be without both Aguero and David Silva, both of whom should be fit for the midweek Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
Press Association Sport (via Eurosport) provides the quotes:
Aguero finished the last derby in the last play with a small pain, I think it was nothing important but I think it was a risk for him to play three games in the same week.
We will leave him for next Wednesday but he will be absolutely fine.
Aguero was in sparkling form against Manchester United last weekend, netting twice as City delivered a brutal 4-1 hammering to their neighbours and title rivals. However, he then missed the League Cup win over Wigan, although his absence was largely expected.
Pellegrini is extremely aware of the importance of the forthcoming clash with European champions Bayern, as it could shape City’s bid to qualify from the group stage for the first time.
The Chilean manager is already under fire for his decision-making in EPL matches this season, particularly following the club's unimpressive showings against both Cardiff City and Stoke. Given that, he is stressing the importance of a win at Villa, as Andy Hampson of The Independent writes:
City laboured in a goalless draw at Stoke immediately prior to their last Champions League outing against Viktoria Plzen a fortnight ago.
Pellegrini had made six changes for that game and Potters boss Mark Hughes suggested City may have paid the price for prioritising the wrong game.
Pellegrini said: "I am sure nobody is thinking about Bayern Munich. We are all thinking about Aston Villa.
"We know it is a strong team playing at home. We need to play a very good game if we want to win and we need to win away now.
By resting Aguero, the City boss will rely upon summer signings Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic to fire his side to three points at Villa Park, and they'll be supported by Edin Dzeko to some extent. Both Jovetic and Dzeko scored in the midweek win over Wigan.
The plan is still to reintroduce Silva to the fold for Bayern's Wednesday visit to the Etihad Stadium, although Pellegrini could not confirm the Spaniard’s recovery from a thigh problem, saying only, "We will see in the week."
Luckily for the manager, City have plenty of players who can cover for Silva's absence.
Samir Nasri sparkled in the win over United, tormenting the right-back as he helped create the opening goal before scoring another, while Jesus Navas provided pace and width down the other flank.
Jovetic, too, is happy to drop off the main striker, but he currently looks like he needs more time to settle in the Premier League after a forgettable showing in the 0-0 draw at Stoke.