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Jeremy Doku on the bench, Nathan Ake to partner Ruben Dias – Predicted XI: Arsenal vs Manchester City (Premier League)



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The Premier League champions travel to the capital on Sunday afternoon to take on Arsenal in what promises to be a blockbuster affair between the two sides.

After last season’s remarkable title race in the English top-flight, Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta’s sides face each other in the Premier League for the first time since the battle last campaign.

However, it is not the first meeting since then, as Arsenal did manage to pick up a penalty shootout victory over the reigning English Champions back in August, after Leandro Trossard levelled the scoring in the last minute to take the FA Community Shield to penalties.

The defeat did not seem to falter the blues however, who went on to pick up eight consecutive wins following the loss, including a UEFA Super Cup win against Sevilla, before being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Newcastle in the Carabao Cup third round last month.

It was a more succesful outing last time out for the blues however, who extended their lead at the top of their UEFA Champions League group, defeating Bundesliga giants RB Leipzig 1-3 at the Red Bull Arena.

After dominating the first-half which was topped off with a Phil Foden opener, Leipzig managed to grab an equaliser early into the second half, courtesy of a Lois Openda strike largely against the run of play in the contest.

However, class prevailed as Manchester City eventually managed to restore the lead through substitute Julian Alvarez, before putting the nail in the coffin with a goal from fellow substitute Jeremy Doku on the break.

All attention now turns to Arsenal this weekend, as Manchester City look to reattain their position at the summit of the table, following Tottenham’s victory over Luton that has temporarily placed the blues in second position.

Both sides may have notable absences at the weekend, with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli doubts for Arsenal, while Manchester City remain without the suspended Rodri, as well as the injured John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne.

Wednesday’s victory in Leipzig did give the Premier League champions a boost, as Bernardo Silva returned to the fray making a shock start in place of Matheus Nunes after the 2-1 defeat to Wolves last weekend.

Despite the absentees, both sides are stacked with star power as the the top two of last season go head-to-head. With that being said, here is the side we predict will take on Arsenal on Sunday!

Predicted XI

Ederson will keep his place between the sticks for Manchester City.

Despite the exceptional outing from Rico Lewis in midweek, we think Kyle Walker will be called upon to use his experience in these mammoth games.

Ruben Dias is in inspired form this season, we expect the colossal defender to partner Nathan Ake in the centre of defence for the blues.

Josko Gvardiol received a ‘bronze bull’ award in Germany from his former club, acknowledging the three years he spent in Leipzig. We expect the Croatian international to be given the nod ahead of Manuel Akanji for this one, taking up the left-back role.

With the absence of Rodri, and the Spanish international heading out on an early holiday ahead of the international break, we think Mateo Kovacic will step in and fill the looming void left by defensive midfield mainstay.

Bernardo Silva is expected to start, with the Portuguese international a typically crucial asset in these matches. We think Silva will start alongside Phil Foden, following his goal in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.

Julian Alvarez is simply undroppable right now, with the Argentine star in electric form, firing on all cylinders at the moment from various roles in midfield and attack.

We expect Alvarez to start at the Emirates Stadium, playing in and around Erling Haaland as part of the attacking set-up, as the Norway international looks to break his somewhat of a goal drought running a staggering two games.

Despite the brilliance of Jeremy Doku off the bench in midweek in Germany, we think Pep Guardiola will opt for Jack Grealish to use his knowhow in these games, in order to slow the game down where necessary.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake, Gvardiol; Kovacic, Foden, Alvarez; Bernardo, Haaland, Grealish.

Substitutes: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Lewis, Akanji, Gomez, Phillips, Nunes, Bobb, Doku.