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Erling Haaland left out of Man City starting lineup against Aston Villa

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Erling Haaland was left out of Manchester City’s starting lineup for its Premier League match against…

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Erling Haaland was left out of Manchester City’s starting lineup for its Premier League match against Aston Villa on Wednesday.

The league’s top scorer was named as a substitute for the game at Etihad Stadium a day after City manager Pep Guardiola described Haaland as the “best striker in the world.”

Haaland was criticized by former Manchester United captain and now TV analyst Roy Keane after he failed to score in City’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Sunday.

Guardiola defended the forward on Tuesday but still opted against naming him in a potentially crucial game in City’s title defense.

Kevin de Bruyne was also named as a substitute.

Third-place City was three points behind leader Liverpool before Wednesday’s game.

Second-place Arsenal was a point ahead of City and was playing Luton at Emirates Stadium.

Villa was five points behind City in fourth.

Guardiola’s team plays at Crystal Palace on Saturday before facing Real Madrid away in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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