Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne return to City’s starting XI for our game at Arsenal this afternoon.
Gundogan, who won the Premier League Player of the Month award after a blistering January, missed our victory at Everton with a groin problem.
And De Bruynes’ 10-minute cameo at Goodison Park was his first appearance for a month after suffering a hamstring injury.
John Stones does his 100e Premier League appearance for the club, as Pep Guardiola makes five changes to his starting squad.
Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko are also back, with Phil Foden, Rodri, Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte on the bench.
Sergio Aguero is among the substitutes again as he continues his comeback after an injured year.
Nathan Ake is the only senior absent. The Dutch defender, who hasn’t played since our Boxing Day win over Newcastle, is not yet in top form and remains in Manchester to continue his recovery period.
XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling
Submarines: Steffen, Walker, Jesus, Aguero, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Foden
XI: Leno, Bellerin, Tenant, Mari, Tierney, Elneny, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Pepe, Aubameyang
Submarines: Ryan, Cédric, David Luiz, Gabriel, Ceballos, Willian, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette
There is no natural and unmistakable striker in City’s starting XI today, with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero on the bench.
This means that a false 9 will be used, with flexibility and fluidity in vital attack areas.
Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne have all played this role for City in the past, as has Ilkay Gundogan, our Premier League top scorer with 11 in his last 12.
Regardless of who has that responsibility, City will play a 4-3-3 formation, with possession of the ball central to our approach.
Arsenal, with former City assistant manager Mikel Arteta in charge, play a similar style. They will be looking to dominate possession and at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang they have one of the most powerful strikers in the league.
And Guardiola has no illusions about the difficulty of the task we are facing. In his pre-match press conference on Friday, he spoke about Arsenals’ dominance in recent weeks, saying: All I can say is that the last month or two have shown me that all managers need time.
They play better than the opponent in every game, as a manager you want the results you deserve, sometimes that doesn’t happen.
And in games, they are always better than the opponent when you analyze control of the game, creating chances and conceding little.
Well you have to play as good as you can with the ball and run a lot because they have an exceptional building set.
Today’s win would see City tie the club’s record of 11 straight away wins in all competitions and extend our remarkable winning streak to 18 games.
City are the first top-tier team to win their first 10 games of a calendar year.
The win against Everton extended our record to 17 matches in all competitions, including 12 in the league.
We’re unbeaten in 24 competitive games since a 2-0 loss to Tottenham in November.
The loss to Spurs was the last time we were left behind in a Premier League game.
City can match the club’s record of 11 successive away wins in all competitions, set from May to November 2017.
We kept 22 clean sheets, more than any other team in the top five European leagues or the top four divisions in England.
lkayGundogan is our Premier League top scorer, with 11 goals in his last 12 appearances.
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