Raz and fall

Pep Guardiola made it plain that his decision to only start England star Raheem Sterling in one of the previous six Manchester City games was down entirely to the excellent form of Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.

No doubt that is true, but the fact that Sterling was ousted in the first place was down to a drop in the impressive standards he has set in the last four years.

Now he looks like a player trying too hard, and playing to get his place back rather than to contribute to the team.

A sharp performance here would have tempted Guardiola to stick him back in the team in Dortmund, but the manager will have seen nothing to suggest Foden and Mahrez should be disturbed.

Sterling's snatched slice after Fernandinho's superb run and pass was more like the 2015 Sterling than the man who piled up 31 goals last season.

Gem Stones

Leeds’ ploy of sitting men on attacking midfielders Aleks Zinchenko and Bernardo Silva in the first half gave Fernandinho and John Stones leeway to stride forward.

In the second half, protecting their lead, the Yorkshire outfit also tightened up on the Brazil holding midfielder, who had been the main source of threat for the Blues.

Stones stepped up to the challenge, making himself the fulcrum of City’s best attacks, repeatedly driving at the heart of the opposition defence, only to be found wanting defensively for Stuart Dallas' winning goal.

Laporte poser

The stacking of the subs bench with quality gave an indication of how City will line up in Germany on Wednesday - Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, and Phil Foden are tied-on starters in that second leg.

The mystery surrounds Aymeric Laporte, who Guardiola said had a problem with his hips and had been ruled out on medical advice.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: John Stones of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leeds United at Etihad Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

But that came after the lack of a left-footed centre back had restricted City tactically in midweek - could he be a ‘surprise’ call-up for the Champions League crunch?


The legendary striker was not in the matchday squad after missing “three or four days” of training, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

No-one associated with the Blues wants to see Kun’s glorious career at the club fizzle out, but with every week that goes by, it looks more and more like the correct decision, from the point of view of both the player and the club.

Guardiola’s prediction that Aguero would play a significant part in the remainder of the season is now looking like an ardent wish rather than a realistic assessment.

The best fans can hope for right now is that he gets fit, and plays and scores in the game that clinches the league title - now THAT would be a fitting end for him.