For the Blues
> Guardiola relishing Chelsea showdown
PEP GUARDIOLA had barely savoured Manchester City’s 2-1 victory at Burnley before he was considering preparations for a more sumptuous Premier League feast against pacesetters Chelsea.
The former Barcelona manager, still adapting to life in the English fast lane, will have a whole week to get ready for the Etihad Stadium clash that will pit together two likely title contenders.
That will seem almost luxurious after eight days that encompassed demanding games at Crystal Palace and Burnley – both won – either side of a 1-1 Champions League draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
“We are going to be playing against the best team in the Premier League. They have been amazing over the past five or six weeks,” said City manager Guardiola after Saturday’s victory at Turf Moor.
“We will try to discover the secret of how we can beat them and we have six or seven days to prepare. Most of the players are tired.”
While City have won six of their seven away games in the league this season, their home form has stuttered and the win at Burnley completed backto-back league victories for the first time since September.
Guardiola had reason once more to be grateful to Sergio Aguero, the prolific City striker who he has criticised over his work-rate and who has yet to sign the new contract that has been long in the offing.
The Argentina forward came up with the goals at Burnley that rescued three points for City after they had fallen behind to a rare strike from midfielder Dean Marney, his first top-flight goal in seven years.
Aguero raised his current remarkable strike rate to 33 goals in 34 Premier League appearances despite a foot injury that had made him a doubt even on the morning of the game.
“He said, ‘I have pain, but I can play,’” Guardiola said afterwards.
Aguero’s predatory nature ensured that City go into their toughest month of the season with a win.
The Chelsea game next Saturday will be followed by matches against Arsenal and Liverpool before December is out, as well as a visit to defending champions Leicester City. – AFP