Ilkay Gündogan is City’s latest high-profile absentee following the announcement that he will be out for around nine months with a cruciate knee ligament injury. This comes as a huge blow, but could award more chances to Yaya Touré and young Aleix Garcia, who Pep has spoken very highly of in his press conferences. The forever absent Fabian Delph seems to have suffered another injury setback whilst Vincent Kompany is still out – he’s training on his own, away from the main group. Sergio Agüero and Fernandinho continue to serve their suspensions.
The absences of Gündogan and Fernandinho leave Guardiola with few options in midfield. He could anchor with Touré, like he did against Watford, but given Arsenal’s excellence in the half-spaces and the double threat of Sánchez and Ozil, I think Pep would be foolish not to go for Fernando. The Brazilian will need to plug a hole in a recently leaky defence and must ensure his positioning is much better than it was at the King Power.
That then leaves Pep with a choice between Touré in one of the floating 8 positions, or Silva and De Bruyne there with Navas/Sané out wide. Personally, I’d like to see Touré in with Silva wide left – revisiting that excellent link-up he has with Nolito from the national team in the inside left channel. With Agüero out, we’ll need Touré for his ability to score a goal from nothing. It’s been a while since De Bruyne and Sterling have scored, so I think it’d be wise to have big Yaya in the side.
With all that in mind, here is how I think City will line up:
What do you think City’s team will be? Use our Squad Selector to put together your ideal starting XI!
Note: This Squad Selector is updated weekly, and thus only contains players who are available for this fixture. Check out our full Squad Selector for an extended version.