Guardiola wary of bans before derby

LONDON • Pep Guardiola admits that he is concerned about potential suspensions when leaders Manchester City face West Ham today looking to equal a Premier League record.

Victory over the Hammers would mark a 13th straight league triumph for Guardiola's team, equalling the record for the most consecutive wins in a season, owned jointly by Chelsea last season and Arsenal in 2001-02.

That Gunners team went on to win a 14th game at the beginning of the following campaign and, should they beat West Ham, City will have the chance to tie that mark when they travel to Old Trafford to face title rivals Manchester United next weekend.

But three key players - midfielders Fernandinho and Leroy Sane, plus captain Vincent Kompany - are one yellow card away from earning suspensions that would rule them out of the eagerly-awaited Manchester derby.

And that has raised the prospect of Guardiola resting one or more of those players for struggling West Ham's visit to Eastlands.

"We will see tomorrow in the training sessions what we will do. Of course they can play or rest," said the Spaniard at his pre-match conference on Friday.

"Vincent Kompany was two months injured, he played a game then again three days later.

"Fernandinho played a lot of minutes but this is an important game, we can't think about United.

"I'm worried about the bookings but West Ham as well. We'll see the team. The last game we didn't play David Silva from the beginning, I rotated and maybe I will again. Nine games in one month is a lot."

The City manager has also confirmed that Sane has recovered from illness and is ready to play.

The 21-year-old Germany international, who has recorded six goals and six assists in 12 league appearances this season, missed the 2-1 midweek victory over Southampton owing to a fever.

West Ham manager David Moyes has endured a difficult start and heads to City still looking for a first win in his fourth game since taking charge last month.

"I was hoping it would be a bit easier, to be honest," the Scot said. "But in football you just never know. It's a big task and a big job, but I think we'll be okay. We have got a good team."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 03, 2017, with the headline 'Guardiola wary of bans before derby'. Print Edition | Subscribe