Pep Guardiola facing injury crisis ahead of Watford clash

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The Pep Guardiola side, which drew 0-0 at Crystal Palace on Sunday, opened the scoring as Raheem Sterling slotted home Leroy Sane's cross for the quickest goal in the Premier League this season on 38 seconds. "I'm not saying change Boxing Day (Dec 26) but you can not play at midday at Selhurst Park, come back, celebrate New Year's Eve but are thinking about the game two days later", he said. Here are now more strong teams, a lot of competitions, a lot of games.

"Kevin, we spoke with him and he said 'I want to play, I want to play, I have pain but I want to play", Guardiola said. The bosses at the federation have to reflect.

Of Gabriel Jesus, who has a knee injury, Guardiola said: "Gabriel will be out four to six weeks, maybe a bit longer".

Jesus later wrote on social media: "Thank God it is not very bad and I won't have to go through any surgery".

"I think this is not going to happen because tradition is tradition but just think about it a little for the players please - they are artists, the reason why all together we are here". You get a different insight into how we play and see it from a bird's eye view in the stand. But it is December, there are lot of fixtures to play.

"I think (injury) makes you appreciate it more".

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In team news, Southampton are still without Charlie Austin and Cedric Soares, while Palace will be without Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward, and Jason Puncheon.

The two sides are set to go head to head at the Etihad, with hosts City hoping to get back to winning ways after seeing their record-breaking win-streak ended by Crystal Palace yesterday afternoon.

Guardiola is the latest in a long list of high-profile managers to question the traditional English fixture schedule this season, his Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho being chief among them. "I'm not saying change Boxing Day (December 26) but you can not play at midday at Selhurst Park, come back, celebrate New Year's Eve but are thinking about the game two days later", he said. "The people come here to watch the players and enjoy their performances - not the managers in the press conferences or the journalists who write about the game".

'This is not basketball, it's not tennis - players need recovery. Just see how many players have muscular injuries.

After the draw, City remain at the top of the EPL standings with 59 points, 14 points ahead of second-placed Chelsea.

Andy Carroll scored a pair of second-half goals - including a late victor - to help West Ham climb out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over West Brom.

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