Manchester City welcome Chelsea in the Premier League this weekend and the Citizens will have the opportunity to build up pressure on Liverpool.

Man City are currently top of the league table having played one game more but Liverpool will have the opportunity to move to the summit if they win their league match on Saturday.

But before Pep Guardiola’s men take on the Blues on Sunday, the manager has dropped a bombshell.

The Spanish boss has come out to claim that Kevin De Bruyne is longer an automatic selection for the first XI.

Here’s why:

‘Maybe, yeah, it’s quite possible,’ said Guardiola.

‘Everyone knows it’s possible or not possible. At the end, we judge the players for who they are but they are there to perform.

‘There are times when team-mates are in better condition. In football, what you have done in the past you have to do in the future.

‘He played the last two, at Everton a few minutes. I want him to play as much as possible. He went out for five minutes and he was incredible.

“I want him to sustain that for a long time. When you’re out a long time, I don’t want him playing game, game, game.

‘We play another game and some important players are not going to play.

‘We have played one more game than Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. When they equalise we see what happens, but a few days ago it was seven points and now we are in this position.

‘There are 12 games left and a lot of points.

‘We arrive with good players and good clubs and everyone must work and create something. My feeling was at the Community Shield (against Chelsea) they had done many things and already there.

‘The season for them is exceptional – final of the Carabao Cup, Europa League through and in the Premier League they are there, even if people don’t believe it. They have a chance to be champions – nine points (behind) but a lot of games to play.

‘In the cup, they are still in. I see how they play and recognise what they want to do.

‘Maybe other people don’t see what they want to do. You see the team and the players on the bench. It’s Chelsea, they have midfielders who are the best in the world, good keeper, experienced defenders, organised. I have a lot of respect.

‘It’s a final for us, and we have to play it.’

Last season Kevin De Bruyne was one of the standout performers for Man City but this campaign the Belgian’s form has dipped considerably.

Kevin De Bruyne has missed a lot of games during the 2018-19 season due to injuries and it looks like Pep Guardiola has managed to find a secondary option whenever De Bruyne is not around.

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