Manchester City starts the Premier League match against Aston Villa on Wednesday evening without Erling Haaland. Pep Guardiola has decided to put the Norwegian on the bench. According to Fabrizio Romano, that decision was made with a view to keeping Haaland fit, but it cannot be ruled out that his reserve role has to do with the striker's poorer form in recent weeks.

Manchester City awaits a crucial match in the battle for the English championship. The Citizens are one and three points behind number two Arsenal and leader Liverpool respectively.

If Manchester City loses on Wednesday, it will even lose third place. Number four Villa is five points behind and can therefore approach two points with a win.

Despite the importance of the match, Guardiola chooses to put Haaland on the bench. The world star is in poorer form than people are used to in Manchester and scored only twice in seven games in the entire month of March.

He is replaced by Julián Álvarez. The Argentinian has often been assured of a starting spot this season, but is normally not positioned at the point of attack, as was the case on Wednesday evening.

Manchester City takes on Villa at home. The match starts at 9:15 PM and can be followed live via Viaplay.

Manchester City line-up: Ortega; Lewis, Dias, Akanji, Gvardiol; Rodri, Silva, Foden; Doku, Alvarez, Grealish.

Aston Villa line-up: Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Lenglet, Digne; Zaniolo, Iroegbunam, Douglas Luiz, Rogers; Diaby, Duran.

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