• Walker was replaced during the win over Arsenal but the boss suggests that he could still feature on Sunday.
  • Mendy hopes to make his long-awaited return to action when United visit the Etihad on 7 April.

Pep Guardiola has suggested that Kyle Walker might be ready to ready to face Chelsea on Sunday (4 March) despite the Manchester City right-back being replaced with calf and back injuries during the 3-0 win over Arsenal.

Walker was replaced by Oleksandr Zinchenko in the 72<sup>nd minute at the Emirates Stadium.

But Guardiola allayed the fears of fans ahead of the upcoming visit of Chelsea after claiming that the England international didn't sustain an injury but an accumulation of knocks, having also completed the full 90 minutes during victory over Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final just four days previous.

"It was a problem at half time. He said he was going to play for five minutes and after that he kept going for longer," Guardiola said as quoted by MEN.

"He had a problem with his calf and back and many, many places. That's why in the last 15-20 minutes he was substituted. I don't think he's injured."

Injured pair Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho as well as the suspended Fabian Delph, missed the win over the Gunners due but Guardiola suggested in the preview of the game that the duo could be back in contention for the visit of Chelsea.

Meanwhile, the clash with Antonio Conte's side comes too soon for Benjamin Mendy but the long-term absentee has delivered a very positive injury update on his recovery, revealing that he could be ready to return to action for the derby against Manchester United on 7 April.

Mendy enjoyed a flying start to the campaign following his big money arrival from Monaco but the left-back saw his adaption to the Premier League curtailed by a knee ligament injury sustained during a game against Crystal Palace in September.

The 23-year-old was forced to go under the knife as a result but he has revealed that the recovery is going "bit quicker than expected" and aims to be back when United visit the Etihad Stadium next month.

"The Manchester derby is a realistic aim. That's half clear in my mind. I really want to play that game," Mendy said to the City official website.

"Of course, there is the World Cup on the horizon, too. For me, there is no doubt regarding the World Cup. After I return, it's on me to impress; I have to make sure I come back well and to keep the rhythm. Before it was one of my targets, but now I know it will be fine."

Mendy said that his original idea was to be ready for a hypothetical Champions League semi-final to be played later in April but he is now optimistic of being back in contention some weeks before.

"When I started my recovery, I had in mind the semi-finals of the Champions League," says Mendy with a glint in his eye.

"That was my goal, but I am coming back a bit quicker than expected originally so maybe it will be possible for me to return sooner than that. I believe in this.

"I think it's possible for me to come back within four weeks. It's not a good thing to come back too soon and you have to take your time. We will see how things go, but I am working hard and optimistic."

Benjamin Mendy
Benjamin Mendy has been out of action since the game against Crystal Palace on 23 September. Getty