Football

Pep faces selection dilemma

QUARTER-FINAL
MIDDLESBROUGH MAN CITY

Pep Guardiola faces a selection headache in tonight's FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough as the Manchester City manager juggles the demands of competing for silverware on two fronts.

Guardiola must decide how many of City's best players to risk at the Riverside Stadium as they have a crucial Champions League last-16, second-leg clash with Monaco four days later.

The FA Cup offers the more realistic prospect of Guardiola's first trophy with City, but the Spaniard's success in Europe was a key factor in the decision to bring him to Manchester last year.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss will find his skills tested to the limit in what is a defining week for City's season.

His most recent attempt at squad rotation failed when Guardiola decided to start Wednesday's Premier League home game against Stoke without his two best creative players.

David Silva was named as a substitute and Raheem Sterling was rested altogether as City drew 0-0, leaving them 10 points behind leaders Chelsea in the EPL.

Perhaps the biggest question revolves around Sergio Aguero.

Since Gabriel Jesus broke his foot against Bournemouth on Feb 13, Aguero has proved indispensable.

The Argentina striker scored twice in the 5-3 first-leg win against Monaco, and is City's best hope of the away goal they may well need in the principality to secure European progress.

Guardiola cannot afford an injury to the striker, and so may decide to field Kelechi Iheanacho against Middlesbrough instead.

City midfielder Yaya Toure said: "Middlesbrough is going to be a tough, tough game.

"We'll try to do our best.

"Of course, one trophy would be very welcome for us." - AFP

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