Dec 24, 2015

    Bony upset over City's starting line-up


    IF LOSING a potentially crucial match in the Premier League title race was not bad enough, Manuel Pellegrini has now had his selection policy called into question by one of his Manchester City players.

    Wilfried Bony said he was disappointed to have been dropped for Monday's 2-1 defeat at Arsenal, intimating that it was wrong that Sergio Aguero came in for him, given the Argentinian had been sidelined for some time with an injury.

    Bony had started in three of City's four matches after Aguero injured a heel in the 3-1 win against Southampton on Nov 28. Bony scored three times, with his most recent goal coming against his former club Swansea.

    The 28-year-old, perhaps reasonably, expected he would retain his place but was instead on the bench, with Aguero starting as City's lone forward.

    The Argentina striker looked rusty and it came as no surprise when he was replaced by Bony on 63 minutes.

    "I'm disappointed that I didn't start," Bony said. "I'm not the coach. The coach does what he thinks is best for the team. He just has to choose 11 players.

    "So when I come on I just try to do my best to try to score or to give an assist to the other players to score to help the team to win."

    The Ivorian was told that Aguero's return for such a high-profile match was understandable given his talents and track record, to which the 27-year-old added: "He (Aguero) is coming back from injury. He hasn't played for a couple of weeks."

    Pellegrini backed his decision to start Aguero. "He worked with the squad the whole week. He needs minutes," the manager said. "Normally when he comes back from an injury he needs minutes. I think that these minutes will be very important for him."

    City, who are third in the table, are four points behind Arsenal and six points behind shock leaders Leicester City.

    Pellegrini's charges host relegation-threatened Sunderland in the league on Saturday, before travelling to meet Leicester on Tuesday.

    He hinted that skipper Vincent Kompany could be fit to face the Black Cats.

    "With Vincent returning to the team, with David (Silva) and Sergio playing normally every week, I suppose that we are going to continue being an important team for the fight of the title," Pellegrini said.