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Two new Man City undroppables confirmed in Aston Villa win after Erling Haaland call

Manchester City were forced to win football games without Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne for two months of the season.

With their position in the title race at a critcal level after Sunday's bore draw with Arsenal, Pep Guardiola deliberately chose to win a game without Haaland and De Bruyne. Aston Villa threatened to frustrate the Blues but were brushed aside 4-1 thanks to a brilliant Phil Foden hat-trick. It feels like everyone has been waiting for a big moment from City in the run-in. It just wasn't this.

The aura that City have built up in winning three Premier League titles in a row and five of the last six has meant that everybody has just assumed they will come good because they have done so often. De Bruyne and Haaland haven't been at their best but when they have clicked - against Luton in the FA Cup, for example - they have been that devastatingly good that it had been assumed the natural order would be restored; cream always rises to the top, right?

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Perhaps City were guilty of banking on that for too long, but after struggles to be effective against Liverpool and Arsenal, and with no more margin for error in the title race, Guardiola shattered all illusions around this season's City side by taking the two biggest names out of the starting lineup.

The manager put it down to logistics when asked, citing their upcoming game with Crystal Palace on Saturday lunchtime as a need to manage minutes; playing at the latest possible time on Wednesday night followed by the earliest possible on Saturday has gone down as badly with Guardiola as you

Read more on manchestereveningnews.co.uk