Guardiola brushes off Messi to Man City talk

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 8, 2020
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The introduction of a winter break in the Premier League means there is a drastically reduced set of fixtures this weekend in England with just four top-flight matches.

The most attractive of those sees second place Manchester City's visit relegation threatened West Ham United on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola's side looking to put the finishing touches to their preparations for the return of the Champions League.

Raheem Sterling will miss the game with a hamstring injury which could sideline him for "several weeks" according to Guardiola, while Jarrod Bowen could make his debut for West Ham following his move from Hull City at the end of January.

West Ham are third from bottom of the table with three defeats and two draws in their last five matches and desperately need three points.

In his pre-game press conference, Guardiola was asked about the chance of his club signing Leo Messi, who this week had a public falling out with Barca's Director of Sport Eric Abidal and who could walk away from the Camp Nou for free if he wanted at the end of June.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi(L) vies with Espanyol's Javi Fuego during the Spanish first division (La Liga) soccer match between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona at RCDE Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, April 29, 2017. Barcelona won 3-0. (Xinhua file photo/Lino De Vallier)

Guardiola ruled out a move for the striker, saying "he's a player from Barcelona. He will stay there. That is my wish: stay in Barcelona."

Second from bottom Watford take on Brighton in a game which could have a big effect on the battle to avoid the drop as Nigel Pearson's side entertains a rival four places and three points above them.

Sheffield United could move above Tottenham into fifth place if they win their home game against Bournemouth.

Consecutive wins have lifted Bournemouth out of the bottom three and up to 16th place, but defeat in Bramall Lane could see Watford leapfrog them if they beat Brighton.

Fabian Delph will miss out for Everton when they kick the weekend's matches off at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday lunchtime. Everton have only Tom Davies, Morgan Schneiderlin and Gylfi Sigurdsson available in midfield against a rival they have not lost against in their last 10 league meetings.

Palace travel to Liverpool after a run of six matches without a win and having failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine games and will be without forward Cenk Tosun, who is injured, but who would have been ineligible to play anyhow as he is on loan at the club from Everton. 

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