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Pep Guardiola’s worst fears confirmed ahead of Arsenal and Real Madrid clashes



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is fearing a number of absentees for upcoming crucial fixtures following an injury-stricken international break.

The Manchester City boss is facing the potential of being without seven first-team stars for Sunday’s showdown Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, as the Sky Blues bid to take a major step towards a fourth successive league title.

City could leapfrog current Premier League leaders Arsenal with a win on Sunday afternoon, with just one point currently separating the Gunners, Liverpool and the Blues at the top of the table.

Manchester City are unbeaten in all competitions since early December, and as well as having Premier League title aspirations, remain in both the Champions League and Emirates FA Cup, with crucial games against Real Madrid and Chelsea next month.

Guardiola’s side will play three Premier League games before travelling to the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday 9th April, with games against Arsenal, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace upcoming.

The Cityzens will face 10 matches across all competitions before the end of April, and could be without a trio of defenders due to injury, following a problematic international break.

Kyle Walker, John Stones, Manuel Akanji and Matheus Nunes all suffered suspected injuries during the international break, meanwhile Kevin De Bruyne, Ederson and Jack Grealish missed national team duty as a result of fitness issues.

The defensive trio are all doubts for Sunday’s clash with Arsenal, and Manchester City also had injury concerns surrounding Erling Haaland, when the 23-year-old was seen leaving Norway training in discomfort last week.

An injury-stricken international break has ultimately seen Guardiola’s worst fears come true, with the Catalonian having said prior to the international break: “It’s a wish (that everyone is okay). It’s difficult sometimes in that period in the busiest time of the season. The schedule is the schedule.

“I will not watch the games. I will rest and when they arrive on the Thursday we will see which players survive and not survive.”

Walker and Stones are both set for scans upon returning to the City Football Academy on Thursday, as Manchester City look to determine the extent of the England duo’s injury problems.

Walker suffered a suspected hamstring injury against Brazil, and Stones was forced off with an abductor issue according to Gareth Southgate.