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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Pep Guardiola not taking Wigan Athletic lightly as Manchester City prepare for FA Cup rematch

The Premier League leaders go up against the table toppers in League One on Monday in the fifth round.

Pep Guardiola is wary of a fast start from Wigan Athletic. Walter Bieri / EPA
Pep Guardiola is wary of a fast start from Wigan Athletic. Walter Bieri / EPA

Pep Guardiola expects League One side Wigan Athletic to race out of the blocks when they face his Manchester City side in the FA Cup on Monday.

Premier League leaders City travel to the DW Stadium in a repeat of the 2013 final, which was won by Wigan 1-0 thanks to a late header from Ben Watson.

Wigan also stunned City in the 2014 quarter-finals and, even though they have since slipped to the third tier of English football, Guardiola is braced for a tough challenge.

Paul Cook's Wigan, who are enjoying a fine season and on course for promotion, have already beaten two top-flight sides in Bournemouth and West Ham United this season.

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"They are going to start so so so so hard because they are so intense, so aggressive without the ball and we have to be ready," said Guardiola.

"When you play at home it's one issue but when you play away in tough conditions in January and February teams like Wigan, who showed in the games against Bournemouth that anything can happen in one game - you could have a sending off, can win if you are not ready."

City continue to fight on four fronts in the shape of the Premier League, the Uefa Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup and Guardiola is pleased his squad's injury list is easing.

Fabian Delph, David Silva and Leroy Sane all returned to action in the midweek Champions League win at Basel and Gabriel Jesus is also back in training.

Guardiola said: "We have a (strong) squad when everyone is fit. Ten days ago we had seven injured but now most have recovered - Silva and Delph and other players - so of course we are going to take it seriously."

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Claudio Bravo could also start in goal if Guardiola maintains his policy of playing the Chilean in place of Ederson in domestic cup matches.

Cook said he is under no illusions about the challenge facing his side against the side dominating the Premier League.

"When you look at the Premier League now, Tottenham are an absolutely fantastic team, Man United are probably going through an indifferent spell, albeit in a good league position," he said.

"Liverpool have had some fantastic results, Chelsea are probably going through an indifferent time - Man City lie 16 points clear after 27 games. It speaks for itself doesn't it?

"The record is phenomenal. No-one can put enough plaudits on them at the minute because they haven't been successful. But I think anyone who doesn't think they're about to be successful is very foolish."

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