‘We are in big, big trouble’ – Pep Guardiola concerned about Man City injury problems after Rodri begs for a ‘rest’ amid intense Premier League title battle with Arsenal and Liverpool

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Manchester City are in “big, big trouble”, according to Pep Guardiola, as injuries bite amid a tense Premier League title race.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Guardiola says that City’s players are struggling with tiredness, after Rodri essentially begged for a rest after playing in their midweek Champions League draw with Real Madrid. The Premier League champions are currently third in the league, however, but need to find a way to keep putting points on the board; they are only one point behind both Liverpool and Arsenal with seven games to play. Nevertheless, Guardiola has claimed that if Rodri does really want a rest, he may have to be left out.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

City have been in good form in recent weeks, but the tiredness has started to show; they had to come from behind to beat Crystal Palace 4-2 last week and conceded three in midweek against Real Madrid. They have not actually lost since December 6, when they were beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa. They have drawn with both Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks.

WHAT GUARDIOLA SAID

Guardiola told reporters: “Take a look at our games and you realise. It is simple. He is so important for the quality he gives us. But if you have a player that doesn’t want to play, he won’t play. I need to rest the centre halves also but in [England’s] friendly games, [John Stones and Kyle Walker] got injured so they get cannot rest. We are in big, big trouble. I had the feeling we were tired in the last games. We will decide [on Saturday] what we have to do.”

WHAT NEXT?

City play Luton this weekend in a huge game at both ends of the table. While Guardiola’s team continue to chase the title, the Hatters are 18th, but they are level on points with Nottingham Forest and only in the relegation zone due to goal difference. City have already played Luton twice this season, both at Kenilworth Road; Guardiola’s side won 2-1 in the league and 6-2 in the FA Cup fifth round.

 

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