Manuel Pellegrini has risked angering his Manchester City players by removing Pablo Zabaleta as vice-captain and replacing him with Yaya Toure, according to the Daily Star.

City have struggled away from home in captain Vincent Kompany's absence, managing only four points from their five away matches in the league this season.

And manager Pellegrini has taken it upon himself to axe vice-captain Zabaleta, who has been wearing the armband due to Kompany's injury, and replace him with Ivorian Toure.

This means Toure will be captaining the side in City's clash with Tottenham next Sunday, with that game coming too soon for Kompany, with the Belgian defender not expected to be back in contention until at least the fixture at Southampton in three weeks.

Argentina international Zabaleta is a popular figure in the Etihad dressing room, but the 28-year-old lost his starting berth to Micah Richards last time out and may not be in Pellegrini's first team plans for the upcoming fixtures.

However, Zabaleta has been one of the league's most consistent performers in recent seasons and will find himself surprised to be dropped, let alone stripped of the vice-captaincy. 

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