Premier League

Manchester City's Manuel Pellegrini stays coy on whether Joe Hart is to start against Arsenal

Joe Hart savours Manchester City's win at Bayern Munich

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Manager Manuel Pellegrini has refused to confirm whether Joe Hart will return to Manchester City's Premier League starting line-up against Arsenal on Saturday.

The England goalkeeper was between the posts on Tuesday night against Bayern Munich in the Champions League but he has not featured in the league since a 2-1 loss to Chelsea on 27 October.

However, it is being widely reported that Hart will get the nod ahead of Costel Pantilimon for Saturday's big lunch-time (12.45pm kick-off) clash with the league leaders.

However, Pellegrini remained tight-lipped when asked on Friday who he would be selecting in goal and also referred to the speculation about possible new goalkeepers he might sign.

"We will see tomorrow the 11 starters," he said.

"And, when the transfer window starts, you will have a lot of difficulties to know who the first-choice goalkeeper will be because we will have (Iker) Casillas, (Victor) Valdes, (Manuel) Neuer, (Willy) Caballero, (Asmir) Begovic.

"I think you will have to ask me about six new goalkeepers!"

Vital game for City

City trail Arsenal by six points but will trim that deficit if they can maintain their 100 per cent home league record and they may benefit from extra rest, their midweek fixture having been a day earlier than Arsenal's.

"For Arsenal and our team it is very important, the game," said Pellegrini.

"They played one day after we did and maybe our match was not exactly the same, but I don't think that will be an advantage or those things will decide the game.

"I think the way both teams will play will be more important.

"It is our opportunity to discount three important points from the best team at the moment in the Premier League.

"But, if we win, all the other teams will be nearer the top of the table, so at least six or seven teams will continue fighting for the title."

Champions Manchester United have slipped to ninth in the table but Pellegrini says they are not out of the hunt.

"They have very good players, a very good team, good manager," he said.

"In football you never know and a strong team like Manchester United always has chances."