Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson's two no-look passes

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling shoots at goal against AFC Bournemouth in Etihad Stadium Manchester

Guardiola said top scorer Sergio Aguero was missing because of muscle fatigue and might be ruled out of City's trip to Watford on Tuesday, too.

Sterling was recently the subject of intense speculation linking him with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu but Guardiola believes his club's ability to tie pivotal personnel down to fresh contracts means the threat of losing such talent is no longer as potent.

The City manager, blessed with an embarrassment of riches in virtually every position, admits that team selection is one of the most hard aspects of his job.

Aguero and Ukrainian winger Aleks Zinchenko were not pictured in the group and Kevin de Bruyne has already been ruled out by manager Guardiola.

The 23-year-old was back among the goals against Bournemouth, taking him to nine for the season, and there is a feeling that there is even more to come from an in-form forward.

He claimed his attempt to improve the players against Bournemouth with a half-time team-talk did not work as well as he would have liked, and was grateful to Sterling for making the difference in the second half. "We haven't done enough defensively and weren't clinical enough in attack".

"You always have chances, and we want to take advantage of the chances we have".

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Goals in each half from Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez secured all three points for the champions, who were again without the injured Sergio Aguero and left the in-form Raheem Sterling on the bench at Vicarage Road. If they stay it's because they like to stay here.

The hosts were much better after the break and goals from Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan sealed a 3-1 victory that also extends the Blues' unbeaten Premier League run to 20.

The German has roared back to form after the disappointment of missing out on selection for the World Cup and a slow start to the current campaign.

Manchester City (12-0-2) enters the contest as one of two undefeated teams remaining in England's top flight with 38 points accumulated through 14 matches.

Guardiola has maintained a balanced view of the player.

James McArthur's delivery was somehow missed by Max Meyer, and the trajectory of the ball did not change, fooling Joe Hart and rolling in to give Palace their first goal from open play at Selhurst Park this season.

"Obviously I want to play more minutes, but I respect who is playing at the moment". We are only in the third (day) of December. The whole back four changed - Vincent Kompany and John Stones came in at centre-half and were strong against the physical threat of Troy Deeney and Isaac Success, while the full-backs offered more protection.

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