Manchester City have been dealt a heavy blow regarding Ruben Dias as they get ready to embark on a hectic and hugely-important 10 days in their season. Starting with a trip to Burnley on Saturday afternoon, the champions then take on Atletico Madrid and title rivals Liverpool.
Continuing their assault in three competitions, City are set to be without Dias (hamstring) for a further two weeks after a diagnosis had, initially, ruled him out for between a month and six weeks. Guardiola shared an update on him during his latest press conference.
Despite that setback, there was some encouraging news for his fellow centre-back John Stones after he pulled up pre-game while on England duty the international break. Stones (knee) has been passed fit to play.
As things stand, there is only Dias and Academy graduate Cole Palmer on the treatment table. That bodes well for Guardiola before City get down to business against Burnley, Atletico and Liverpool. However, with such important games to come, there will not be any leeway when it comes to selection.
Having seen their advantage at the Premier League summit cut back to one point, City might opt for changes here, but any that Guardiola does make will be minimal. Stones and Aymeric Laporte are expected to start at centre-back, although Nathan Ake could also come into the reckoning.
In attacking quarters, Raheem Sterling will have to work his way past Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden or Jack Grealish. The trio were chosen by Guardiola in City’s last Premier League game.
City predicted team vs Burnley (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, de Bruyne; Jesus, Foden, Grealish.