Aguero makes Man City bench but no Jesus against Southampton

By John Skilbeck 19 December 2020 13
Aguero makes Man City bench but no Jesus against Southampton

Gabriel Jesus was a surprise absentee and Sergio Aguero only made the bench as Manchester City attempted to return to winning ways at Southampton in the Premier League. 

Brazilian striker Jesus has scored just twice in the Premier League this season, but it was fitness rather than form which saw him sidelined for the clash with Saints on Saturday.

City said Jesus and defender Aymeric Laporte, also missing from the 20-man matchday squad, were "not fully fit" for the match at St Mary's.

Aguero, however, was healthy enough to take his place among the nine substitutes - upped this week from seven in a move to allow for concussion replacements.

The striker has struggled for fitness this season and missed training after the West Brom game, but he took part on Friday, giving manager Pep Guardiola the option to use him at some point.

Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling led the City attack, as Guardiola made four chances from the midweek draw with West Brom.

Torres, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Bernardo Silva all came into the XI as Jesus, Phil Foden, Nathan Ake and Benjamin Mendy made way.

Goal-shy City, unusually struggling to put the ball in the net this season, went into the game on the south coast 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, albeit with two games in hand, after Jurgen Klopp's men thrashed Crystal Palace 7-0 at Selhurst Park.

The loss of Jesus comes amid a disappointing run of form for the striker in this season's Premier League. He has failed to score in his last five appearances, despite playing the full 90 minutes each time.

He had just three shots in total across his last three games, suggesting he was perhaps due a spell out of the team, regardless of fitness.

Torres, however, has fared similarly disappointingly on the goals front, netting once in 422 minutes in this season's Premier League, with a dismal shot conversion rate - including blocks - of 7.14 per cent. 

City stood four points behind Southampton going into the game.

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