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Citys Pellegrini hints at Arsenal distraction

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09 Dec 2013 18:31:58

Citys Pellegrini hints at Arsenal distraction

Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini hinted Saturday's Premier League clash against leaders Arsenal could be a distraction for Tuesday's final Champions League group match at European champions Bayern Munich.

Both City and Bayern are through to the knock-out stages and all that remains to be settled is who will finish top of Group D with the Germans currently three-points clear.

City must win at least 3-0 to finish top of the group but with City's away form this season their weak point Pellegrini could be tempted to rest players ahead of the Arsenal visit.

City, who are fourth in the Premier League, have the chance to halve the six point league difference between them and the Gunners at the Ethiad Stadium on Saturday.

"We'll see who starts tomorrow," said Pellegrini when asked if he would rest players ahead of the Arsenal visit.

"One of the most important things was to get through to the knock-out phase and now we have the chance to decide the group.

"Of course, we are thinking about both games, but first tomorrow is very important for us to play well and we will also see what happens for the tough game against Arsenal."

Pellegrini has said England goalkeeper Joe Hart is set to start ahead of Costel Pantilimon, who was in goal for City's 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday.

Defender Gael Clichy will not play, as he has a minor foot injury, but is expected to be fit for the Arsenal match while Pellegrini is hoping to have Spanish forward David Silva back from injury.

He has missed City's last five matches due to a calf injury.

Certainly, City will have their work cut out containing Bayern, who are set to welcome back captain Philipp Lahm after a two-week absence with a hamstring injury.

Bayern have won all of their 18 home games since their last defeat in Munich to Arsenal in March and are on a 40-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga.

Bayern are also on a record run in the Champions League and their 3-1 win at CSKA Moscow a fortnight ago was their tenth straight victory in Europe, breaking Barcelona's previous record.

The defending champions have won all of their five group games so far, including a dominant 3-1 win last October over City.

City have already pulled off a landmark achievement by reaching the Champions League's knock-out stages for the first time, at the third attempt.

"We have qualified for the next round and this is very good," said Pellegrini.

"It's important to improve on what we did against Bayern at home, we didn't play well and we need to improve the image we gave of ourselves in that match."


AFP

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