By PA Sport Staff
Manchester City are closing in on another Premier League title – but Pep Guardiola will have to patch up his backline to get over the line.
City are three points clear of Liverpool and have a better goal difference with two matches remaining, but travel to West Ham and then host Aston Villa having to deal with a number of defensive problems.
Guardiola said “it doesn’t look good” in that area of the field, and here the PA news agency looks at the injury issues the City boss has to contend with.
The England defender was rushed back from an ankle injury to play in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Real Madrid, only to reaggravate the problem and limp off shortly after half-time.
Guardiola has ruled Walker out for the rest of the season and slotted versatile Joao Cancelo in at right-back, with Oleksandr Zinchenko deployed in his place on the left.
He limped off early into the first leg against Real Madrid after a recurrence of thigh trouble.
The England centre-back had been substituted with the issue against Brighton the previous week and will miss the rest of the campaign.
Last season’s Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, who has impressed again for City, was taken off at half-time of Sunday’s 5-0 win against Newcastle.
Guardiola confirmed the hamstring injury would rule him out for the rest of the campaign. Fernandinho replaced him at centre-back for the Wolves match.
City’s issues continued against Wolves on Wednesday, when the Spain international was replaced by Nathan Ake in the 61st minute after taking a knock to his knee.
Guardiola is waiting to see how he progresses ahead of the trip to West Ham.
The defensive midfielder turned makeshift centre-back is another doubt for City’s absentee-hit backline.
Riyad Mahrez came on for veteran Fernandinho with 13 minutes remaining at Wolves, with Guardiola revealing “it will be difficult” for the Brazilian to feature on Sunday due to “some muscular problems”.