For the Blues

> Guardi­ola rel­ish­ing Chelsea show­down

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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

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