Pep reveals which players are a doubt for PL game & again shows frustration with International break

Josep 'Pep' Guardiola, the head coach of Manchester City,...
Josep 'Pep' Guardiola, the head coach of Manchester City,... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City return to Premier League action this weekend, as they prepare for an encounter with Luton Town. 

The Premier League title race continues to stay neck and neck with City still only one point behind Arsenal and Liverpool

After City play Luton on Saturday afternoon, Liverpool take on Crystal Palace, and then Arsenal take on Aston Villa

Pep Guardiola was asked about certain players who remained a doubt for Saturday's fixture, "We are training this afternoon, so we will know better how they feel."

He went on to discuss the individual names involved, "(Foden)I would like to tell you, but I didn't speak to the doctors. After the press conference, we have a meeting and we will see. (Walker) I don't know right now. Honestly, I would tell you."

"Eddie (Ederson) is the first choice. He was ready to play against Madrid. He is ready for tomorrow and we will make the decision."

Ederson didn't play during the week due to a lack of rhythm, which prompted Pep to start Stefan Ortega. The manager will mostly be focusing on getting Ederson prepared for their return leg with Real Madrid, and if that means either resting him or getting him to play on Saturday, it remains to be seen. 

Rodri Hernandez
Real Madrid CF v Manchester City: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Pep then moved on to Rodri, who fortunately isn't injured but has been said to be feeling tired, "If a player does not want to play, he will not play, simple. Another player will play. Take a look at our games and you realise. Rodri is so important for the quality he gives us. Not just Rodri, I would love to rest our central defenders but we can't (due to international) friendlies and now we are in big trouble."

Guardiola made it very clear when the break arrived a few weeks back that he wouldn't watch the games containing his players, and just wait for their arrival back to the club to see which players had and hadn't survived. 

His frustration is more than understandable; at such a crucial phase in the season, when the League is almost at its end, the Champions League reaches this point, and also their respected Cups continue in the stages near the final, sending players away for international friendlies is far from ideal. 

Kyle Walker missed out on the first leg of the UCL quarter-final, and fans can only hope he recovers in time for the next game, as City will hope to overcome Real Madrid, with the clubs currently on a 3-3 aggregate. 

And with this point in the season filled with many high-stake fixtures, players will already be feeling the pressure and exhaustion of these commitments, but then adding extra games, which you would say are rather less important at the moment, only adds more fatigue. 

While the game with Luton Town will require a win to stay alive in the PL title race, resting a few names wouldn't be the worst situation, you'd believe. 

Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku, Kevin De Bruyne
Luton Town v Manchester City - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Despite a close previous game between the two sides, which ended 2-1 in favour of City, in the FA Cup it was a different story as the Cityzens strolled past Luton with a 6-2 victory. 

The only player with doubt that should start on Saturday, is Ederson. He has been selected in the squad for a while now and we know he's recovered enough to start, his only reason during the week has already been mentioned, and if he is to play next week when Madrid play the second half, then his presence in goal in front of Luton should be chosen. 

Man City predicted line-up: 

Ederson, Lewis, Stones, Dias, Gvardiol, Nunes, Kovacic, Bobb, De Bruyne, Doku, Alvarez


Man City Square Prediction 

Man City 4-1 Luton Town 

Saturday, at 15:00 (UK)