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Preview: Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Manchester City vs Arsenal

One of, if not the biggest game of Manchester City's season to date: a clash with top-of-the-table Arsenal at the Etihad. City sit five points behind Arsenal with two games in hand and eight games in total remaining. A win here would give Pep Guardiola's side a massive boost in their chase for their third consecutive league title, the first since Manchester United did it from '07 to '09. Kick-off for this potential title decider is 8:00 PM (BST) on Wednesday, April 26th, live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom.


Team News

No update was provided on the fitness status of Nathan Ake in Pep Guardiola's pre-match press conference, and he has not been spotted in the club's pre-match training gallery ahead of a crucial battle expected down the left side of the City defence against Arsenal talisman Bukayo Saka, who has enjoyed little success against the Dutchman in previous encounters this season.

Ake was forced off with a hamstring injury as the second leg against Bayern Munich drew to a close, and no definitive comments from Guardiola nor the club have emerged since providing an update.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

In any case, it seems unlikely the 28-year-old would be available so soon after suffering the issue, despite the player suggesting the injury felt a little less than when he had suffered the problem in the past.

Aymeric Laporte appears to be the most suitable replacement for the Dutch international, given the 3-2-4-1 shape Guardiola has implemented during this impressive run of City form over the past ten or so games, and the Spain international replaced Ake when he was forced off against Bayern.

Guardiola played Bernardo Silva at left-back at the Emirates, and Rico Lewis has also featured in the position, but it's likely Guardiola will favour the defensive capabilities and experience of Laporte in a position that will come naturally to him on the left side of the defence; he did also feature as an out-and-out left-back against Mohammed Salah and Liverpool in the pivotal home win against Liverpool in the 2018/19 season.

Predicted XI:

Ederson, Stones, Akanji, Dias, Laporte, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Haaland, Grealish

Photo courtesy of Stu Forster/Getty Images


Arsenal would not have enjoyed the best of weekends after drawing 3-3 with Southampton on Friday night. Arsenal got punched in the mouth after a first-minute Southampton goal from Carlos Alcaraz, and a goal from former Gunner Theo Walcott put the Saints ahead by two.

Gabriel Martinelli scored for Arsenal to make it 2-1 heading into the halftime break, but Arsenal once again went down by two goals after a goal from Duje Caleta-Car. A flurry at the end of the match saw Arsenal grab two back, but ultimately, it wasn't enough for all three points. Arsenal have now drawn three straight games, including two matches where they had two-goal leads before going on to concede and drop points.

Mikel Arteta will again be without Wiliam Saliba in the heart of his defence as he continues to recover from injury, with Takehiro Tomiyasu out for the remainder of the season as he works on a return following surgery to remedy significant damage in his right knee.

Arteta has confirmed that Granit Xhaka is a doubt for the fixture.

Photo courtesy of Julian Finney/Getty Images


Played: 184

Wins: 55

Drawn: 43

Losses: 86

The last loss to Arsenal in all competitions was an FA Cup semi-final tie in 2020, and the Blues haven't lost to the Gunners in the league since 2015. City look to extend that run on Wednesday for another season.

The last time the two sides met was a 1-3 City win at the Emirates, with Kevin De Bruyne capitalising on a Tomiyasu mistake before Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland secured the victory in the second half with superbly taken efforts.



Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistants: Stuart Burt & Ian Hussin

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: David Coote

Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart

Photo courtesy of Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Written by: @Ba5que

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