Guardiola vows to rest Man City’s star players at Chelsea

Pep Guardiola has said he will rest some of his key Manchester City players against Chelsea tonight, even though losing at Stamford Bridge could hand Liverpool the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola has said he will rest some of his key Manchester City players against Chelsea

Jurgen Klopp’s side will be crowned champions if they beat Crystal Palace tonight and City fail to win at Stamford Bridge 24 hours later.

But City’s gruelling schedule sees them play an FA Cup quarter-final at Newcastle on Sunday night and that is the game Guardiola is prioritising, to the extent that he could even play Ilkay Gundogan – best known as a deep-lying midfielder – as a centre-forward.

‘We can’t deny that we have one eye on Newcastle,’ he added.

‘Chelsea and Liverpool are prestigious but Newcastle is our game. A final. We have one eye.

‘It depends on physical condition, the minutes they have played. We take a look a little bit at what is going to happen, not just Chelsea.’

Guardiola will definitely be missing Sergio Aguero after he came off with a knee injury against Burnley on Monday night.

The Argentine striker has already had surgery in Barcelona on a lateral meniscus injury in his left knee, and is set for up to seven weeks on the sidelines.

Sergio Aguero undergoes surgery in Barcelona

Gabriel Jesus is likely to replace Aguero for the time being but Guardiola admitted midfielder Ilkay Gundogan could play up front when he decides to rotate his options in the coming weeks.

Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have also played in that ‘false 9’ role in the past but Guardiola believes Gundogan could offer a different alternative.

‘We don’t have any doubts about Gabriel,’ Guardiola said. ‘The only doubt we have is that not one single player can play every three days.

‘Raheem can play in this position, even Gundogan and Bernardo. Not like a (proper) striker but we can use them.’

Guardiola’s defensive options are set to be boosted for the fixtures ahead with John Stones on the brink of a return.

City have been without the England defender in their two games back – a 3-0 win over Arsenal and a 5-0 victory against Burnley – since returning to Premier League action last week due to an ankle injury.

The centre-back is unlikely to be available at Stamford Bridge, however, but is making good progress in his recovery.

‘He’s training on the pitch,’ Guardiola added. ‘He’s getting better and hopefully he can join the team in the next few days.’

Reserve goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is also training again after a thigh problem.

Klopp’s side only need three more points to win their first ever Premier League trophy.

Defeat at Chelsea will hand the Premier League title to Liverpool 

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Liverpool are 23 points clear of Guardiola’s side, who can earn a maximum of 87 points should they win all their remaining eight games.

But if City even draw against Frank Lampard’s men, their highest possible points tally drops to 85, so as Liverpool currently have 86 points after their win over the Eagles.

The post Guardiola vows to rest Man City’s star players at Chelsea appeared first on Sporting Life.

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