The Premier League weekend’s headliner fixture sees fourth place Arsenal visit second place Manchester City, in match-up of the fourth place team visiting the side that is second in the table. Pep Guardiola’s team shockingly lost at lower table Newcastle United in midweek, and with Liverpool drawing against Leicester City, fell another another point off the pace of the league lead.
Let’s see how they respond on Sunday. Here’s the injury and fitness situation for both sides in this blockbuster match.
Manchester City No. 1 Ederson should be fit to play despite picking up a minor leg injury (a really nasty cut) in the loss at Newcastle, while No. 2 Claudio Bravo remains a long term Achilles injury absentee. If worse comes to worse, Guardiola could be forced to deploy 20-year-old Aro Muric in between the sticks.
Benjamin Mendy will be hoping to return to action in this one as he nears full fitness, but the comeback process has been up and down in training this past week.
“We’ll see day by day, but really I don’t know,” Guardiola said at his news conference hours ago in regards to Mendy’s situation. Finally, team captain Vincent Kompany remains a long term injury absentee.
Flipping over to the visitors, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Sokratis Papastathopolous all remain sidelined while Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Laurent Koscielny will both face fitness tests.
“He trained today well, we are positive with him,” Arsenal boss Unai Emery said of Koscielny, who is recovering from injuries to the face and head. It had been worried that the player suffered a broken jaw, but Emery said the scans showed just: “bruising and soft tissue swelling.”
Meanwhile Bellerin gave the following post-op update via his Twitter account:
Surgery = success. Big thank you to all the doctors and physios who worked so hard to get me ready for surgery and through it with such ease ?? pic.twitter.com/Jl8oNUptCB
— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) January 31, 2019
“It’s a big injury, it’s a long time,” Emery said of Bellerin’s recovery from surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“This season is impossible. The important thing is to be calm. Usually, this injury is six to eight months.”
Arsenal at Manchester City FYIs
Kickoff: Sunday, February 3, 4:30 PM local, City of Manchester Stadium
Google Result Probability: Manchester City win 74%, Draw 16% Arsenal win 10%
Starting XI Predictions: Man City Arsenal FC
Pep Guardiola Press Conference Video:
Odds via Bet365: City win win 2/7, Draw 5/1, Arsenal win 15/2
Prediction: Manchester City 3, Arsenal 1
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.
He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.
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