Man City travel to Old Trafford on Sunday evening to face city rivals Man Utd, and they could be forced to do so without Kevin De Bruyne.
The 28-year-old has once again been a pivotal figure for City so far this season, scoring nine goals and providing 20 assists in 35 appearances.
Although they are staring at a 22-point deficit to league leaders Liverpool with the Premier League title seemingly gone this year, the last thing that Guardiola needs as they look to add to their League Cup success is injuries to key players to disrupt their momentum.
That is potentially what he has on his hands this weekend, as Sky Sports report that the Man City boss has revealed that De Bruyne is a doubt for the Manchester derby after he missed the win over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup in midweek due to a shoulder injury.
The Belgian international is believed to have picked up the knock during the win over Aston Villa last weekend, and now Guardiola isn’t 100% certain that he’ll recover in time to take his place in the side to face United.
“Kevin had a problem here [points to shoulder]. He was not fit,” he told reporters after the game, as quoted by Sky Sports in the report above.
“In the last game, the last minutes he fell down in a bad position and had a problem in his back. We don’t know how long [he will be out]. Hopefully not much.”
Asked if he would be fit for Sunday, Guardiola replied: “I don’t know.”
Perhaps it is merely Guardiola being coy on the situation to keep Man Utd guessing or it may well be that De Bruyne does now face a decisive 72 hours to recover and get the green light from the medical staff to feature.
Either way, given his influence on the side and his all-round quality to make the difference in these big games, City will be desperate to have him driving them forward from midfield to try and secure all three points and bragging rights in Manchester.