Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola to field weakened XI vs Manchester United

As per a report from respected Manchester City journalist Sam Lee this afternoon, Manchester City are set to rest a number of key players for their potentially-title clinching matchup with Manchester United this weekend.

Dominant force

City currently sit a massive 16 points clear of nearest challengers United in the Premier League table, with just 7 games left to play.

As such, a win for the Citizens in their next fixture, which just so happens to come against the Red Devils at the Etihad on Saturday evening, would see Pep Guardiola’s men crowned the champions of the English top-flight.

Manchester City vs Bournemouth

Manchester City celebrate during the Premier League match between Manchester City and AFC Bournemouth at Etihad Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.

‘Liverpool will occupy all my head’

However, either side of City’s potentially-title capturing outing this weekend are a pair of Champions League quarter-final meetings with Liverpool, with rumours having been rife in the English media over recent days that Pep Guardiola could be set to rest a number of his side’s stars versus United next Saturday.

When questioned on this possibility following his side’s 3-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening, Guardiola explained:

‘Of course I want to win against United at home but we have three days before we have Liverpool, after we have three days before United and after we have three days before the second leg so few recovery days.’

‘You have to use all the squad but that doesn’t mean the guys who play are not going to prepare to win. If we are in the position we are now in the Premier League it is because everyone has made his own contribution. That is going to happen. But I am sorry, as a manager, now Liverpool will occupy all my head.’

Rotation

And, as per the aforementioned report from Sam Lee this afternoon, Guardiola’s decision regarding his team selection over the coming ten days is in fact already as good as made, with the Spaniard set to field a weakened XI versus United, if City do not earn a dominant victory over Liverpool on Wednesday night:

‘Sources close to Guardiola have told Goal that he is desperate to reach the Champions League semi-finals this season, and it is believed he told several specific first-team players that they will be rested against United if the European tie is in the balance after Wednesday’s first leg.’

‘Those sources have suggested that the Catalan’s stance is only likely to change if City rack up a comfortable win at Anfield in midweek, but that is not something he has communicated to his players as he is so keen to keep their minds focused on Liverpool.’

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