Manchester City will be without England forward Raheem Sterling for Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the options manager Pep Guardiola has to cover his absence.
There have been many occasions when Sterling and Silva have operated in the same side, often with the England international playing to the left and the Portuguese to the right. In this instance Silva would take up Sterling’s position on the left. Riyad Mahrez, as he has for a lot of the campaign, would provide balance on the right in a fairly seamless change.
The highly-rated teenager continues to wait patiently for opportunities at the Etihad Stadium and this could open up a spot. He is not a natural replacement for a forward like Sterling, however. Bringing in the youngster would probably require someone else – a versatile performer such as Kevin De Bruyne for instance – switching position to accommodate him.
Sterling’s absence could also give City chance to experiment with a different shape and bring in a second out-and-out striker. Sergio Aguero and Jesus rarely operate together as twin strikers but they were used in tandem with notable success in last month’s 6-1 win at Aston Villa and it might be worth trying again. City will want to have a number of options at their disposal when their Champions League tie with Real Madrid comes around.
The German winger, who has been out since suffering a knee injury in the Community Shield, is hoping to return to action in the near future. Sunday may come too soon but if Sterling’s absence lasts a little while, Sane would be an obvious choice for the left-hand side.
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