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How Man City could line up against Arsenal after double injury blow confirmed

Manchester City suffered a double injury blow during the international break as John Stones and Kyle Walker are not in contention for Sunday’s high-stakes clash against Arsenal

Speaking to the press in the build-up to the Premier League title six-pointer, Pep Guardiola confirmed his star defenders will miss out on the Gunners’ visit to the Etihad Stadium.

“Kyle’s [injury is] more tough than John’s, but they will be out – I don’t know for how many games,” the Man City boss told the club’s official website

Walker picked up a thigh injury in the first half of England’s 1-0 home defeat to Brazil, while Stones had to come off in the opening stages of the Three Lions’ 2-2 draw against Belgium a few days later.

Manuel Akanji also succumbed to a fitness problem while on international duty with Switzerland, but according to Guardiola, he’ll be part of the matchday squad.

There’s also a chance for Kevin De Bruyne to join the party after skipping Belgium’s friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and England to accelerate his recovery from a minor muscle injury. 

Another significant boost for Man City is Ederson’s expected return to the fold, as he should reclaim his place between the sticks after Stefan Ortega was in goal in a 2-0 FA Cup win against Newcastle United. 

Guardiola’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 against the Magpies, but with Stones and Walker ruled out, the Spaniard could resort to a 3-2-4-1 to make up for the shortage of numbers at the back.

Nathan Ake should start as a left centre-back in a three-man backline alongside Akanji and Ruben Dias, who should take Walker’s place on the right. 

Stones’ absence means Mateo Kovacic could parr up with Rodri in the double-pivot ahead of Matheus Nunes. 

Depending on De Bruyne’s fitness status, Man City could play with one natural winger in Jeremy Doku or use Julian Alvarez as a makeshift winger on the left.  

If Guardiola deploys the Belgian playmaker from the start, Doku will probably stay on the bench. It would allow Phil Foden to start as a right-winger, with Bernardo Silva likely to play in a more central position.

The leading Premier League goalscorer, Erling Braut Haaland, will lead the line and is aiming to net his third goal in four league appearances against Arsenal

Manchester City potential starting line-up:

(3-2-4-1): Ederson; Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake; Julian Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden; Erling Braut Haaland. 

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