Pep Guardiola appears to be in a bit of a panic ahead of City’s Carabao Cup clash with Manchester United.
While United have a fully fit squad to choose from apart from suspended Edinson Cavani, City have a real mix of worries.
Bernardo Silva is suspended for the fixture. The MEN also report goalkeeper Ederson and summer signing Ferran Torres are isolating, while Aymeric Laporte is out injured.
These are four top stars which leave City’s squad weakened, with Nathan Ake also out injured and Eric Garcia also isolating.
Guardiola told his press conference, reported by Reuters: “We don’t have many players, to play one, two games is okay, but if sustained for a long time – and you can use just 14 or 15 players – it will be more difficult. But… we have to adjust as much as possible. We don’t have an alternative.”
Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus head into the game with question marks although are expected to be fit to play some part.
It is hard to have much sympathy really for Guardiola as he still has Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, and Fernandinho among his attacking and midfield options.
Even in defence he has John Stones and Ruben Dias available. His only real worry is in goal where Zack Steffen could have to start again.
United had it worse last year
The roles have reversed here on City after United were hit by injuries for the home leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final last season and United conceded three goals by half-time.
United were without Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, and Marcos Rojo through injuries in defence and had to line up with Phil Jones at centre-back for the crucial game.
In midfield United were without Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, while Anthony Martial did not feature either.
United’s patchwork midfield was made up of Fred, who could start this game, Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira, while Bruno Fernandes was a mere pipe dream.
Guardiola has a right to be concerned in the big picture regarding the number of games, but this is a chance for him to finally play some youngsters.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side need to be ruthless and exploit City’s shortcomings. It will be important to test young goalkeeper Steffen early and often. Chelsea were unable to do so at the weekend.
City still have enough dangermen to be able to hurt United so they are not at too much of a disadvantage. They are vulnerable though and Guardiola’s comments won’t come across as inspiring to his City players.
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