Silva doubtful for City but Aguero ready to face United in Manchester derby

Pep Guardiola may have to make do without playmaker David Silva when Manchester City host Manchester United on Thursday.

David Silva is a major doubt for Manchester City's derby clash with Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, but boss Pep Guardiola expects top scorer Sergio Aguero to be fit.

Silva left the field following a heavy challenge from Arsenal defender Gabriel during Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat that left him with a sore hamstring.

Aguero opened the scoring after taking a knee to the back from Laurent Koscielny but departed in pain during extra time, moments before Alexis Sanchez sealed a 2-1 win for Arsene Wenger's side.

Alongside mixed news for his two leading attacking threats, Guardiola reported that Gabriel Jesus has a chance of making his return against Jose Mourinho's men.

Brazil striker Jesus suffered a broken metatarsal at Bournemouth in February to curtail a flying start to life in English football but returned to training ahead of City's Wembley tie.

"David Silva is a real, real doubt. I don't know if he will be ready to play after what happened in the first minutes of the semi-final," Guardiola told a pre-match news conference ahead of the crunch clash, a game his side enter fourth in the Premier League - a point and a place above United.

"Gabriel has no pain at all so is ready but after the months out his physical condition is not optimal. Sergio is much better. Today he made a small part of the training session, tomorrow he will be ready."

Aguero has scored 12 goals in his past 12 outings, an impressive return to form for the Argentina international, who was briefly benched during Jesus' emergence.

Guardiola is adamant the two could be paired together in a mouth-watering attacking combination, but that could be bad news for the wingers in his squad such as Raheem Sterling, who had to be content with a place on the bench at Southampton and against Arsenal.

"Aguero and Jesus can play together - it depends on the way we want to play," Guardiola explained.

"If you want to play without wingers, more narrow, they can play.

"In the last game I decided to put one less attacking player. It is not a lack of confidence [for Sterling] or anything like that."

United also have fitness issues to contend with after Zlatan Ibrahimovic ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during last week's Europa League quarter-final with Anderlecht.

But Guardiola feels his old Clasico foe Mourinho has plenty of other impressive firepower at his disposal as he attempts to extend an unbeaten top-flight run standing at 23 matches.

"Manchester United are good – a good rival with good quality and a long run in the Premier League without defeat," he said. 

"Ibrahimovic is an excellent player but they have [Jesse] Lingard and [Marcus] Rashford. They are good players as well.

Guardiola maintained his belief that City were the better side as Arsenal ended their final chance of capturing a major honour this term.

It will be the first time the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has ended a season without lifting silverware in his decorated coaching career – a situation he appears to have quickly accepted.

"I have been managing eight years and this is my first year without a trophy," he added. "It has to happen and it happened.

"It will happen again if I manage a long time, but there are a lot of teams in Europe that won't win anything this season."