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City v Villa: Team news and tactics

Wilfried Bony returns to the starting line-up against Aston Villa as Manuel Pellegrini makes three changes from the team that lost to Liverpool in midweek.

The Ivorian striker hasn't started a game since the Blues swept Sunderland aside on Boxing Day and will be keen to add to his tally of eight goals for the campaign.

The other changes are Yaya Toure and Bacary Sagna in for Fernando and Pablo Zabaleta respectively. Raheem Sterling makes way for Bony.

Starting XI and subs:

Hart, Sagna, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Clichy, Toure, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, Bony, Aguero

Subs: Caballero, Zabaleta, Mangala, Kolarov, M.Garcia, Sterling, Iheanacho

Probable formation and tactics:

Sergio Aguero, looking for his 20th goal of the campaign, will have company in attack this afternoon alongside Bony with the Blues looking for an early goal to disrupt any defensive game-plan the visitors may employ.

That means 4-4-2 for City, with David Silva and Jesus Navas the wider of the midfield quartet and Yaya Toure and Fernandinho playing the deeper, more defensive roles.

Fernando has been unwell so is rested today. Sagna returns in place of Zabaleta in an otherwise unchanged defence with Manu Garcia and Kelechi Iheanacho on the bench - the latter no doubt hoping to play some part in today's game after scoring a hat-trick against Villa in January.

Villa line-up:

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