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Pep Guardiola issues major player fitness update ahead of Arsenal clash – two confirmed Manchester City absentees



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has issued a major fitness update ahead of Sunday’s showdown Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola faced a turbulent international break with his Manchester City squad, as several first-team stars suffered injuries during friendlies, throwing the Sky Blues’ upcoming plans in to havoc.

Manchester City host Arsenal in a crucial top of the table Premier League match on Sunday, the first of 10 matches before the end of April across three competitions for the Cityzens.

City have suffered two defeats to Arsenal so far this season, losing in the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium, and in October at the Emirates Stadium in the reverse Premier League fixture.

Guardiola’s side are unbeaten since early December in all competitions but suffered a trio of defensive injuries during the international break, as Kyle Walker, John Stones and Manuel Akanji all suffered problems.

Erling Haaland and Matheus Nunes also caused fitness concerns after issues during training sessions, meanwhile Kevin De Bruyne, Ederson and Jack Grealish all missed international friendlies due to fitness issues.

Grealish was omitted from Gareth Southgate’s England squad after a series of recent fitness issues, with the 28-year-old remaining at the City Football Academy to continue rehabilitation.

De Bruyne also remained at the CFA after withdrawing from Belgium duty due to a groin problem, an injury which also kept the 32-year-old out of Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Newcastle United.

Ederson, De Bruyne, Akanji, Grealish and Nunes all took part in a first-team training session on Thursday afternoon, and ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Arsenal, Guardiola provided a major fitness update.

Guardiola revealed that both Walker and Stones would miss Sunday’s clash against the Gunners, with the pair both suffering injuries during appearances for England at Wembley Stadium.

The City manager also revealed that goalkeeper Ederson is “much better” but wouldn’t confirmed whether the Brazilian would start this weekend.

Akanji is also “ok” according to Guardiola, with Grealish additionally available for selection.