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Manchester City’s possible starting XI in the Premier League title clash against Arsenal

The Premier League title is on the line as Pep Guardiola’s men face off against the Gunners at the Etihad.

The Premier League title is on the line as Pep Guardiola’s men face off against the Gunners at the Etihad.

All of a sudden, it feels as if there is something of an inevitability about the outcome of this season’s Premier League title race. For most of the campaign, Arsenal have been several steps ahead of everyone else and apparently on course for a first league trophy since 2003-04. But seeing reigning champions Manchester City in the rear-view mirror would be enough to make any team nervous and so it has proved, with the Gunners’ recent slip-ups giving Pep Guardiola’s side the chance to get into their slipstream.

Premier League title momentum with Manchester City

The Sky Blues still have plenty of work to do to retain their trophy but considerably less than a couple of months ago. While Arsenal have drawn three successive games, throwing away two-goal leads in two of them, City have cruised to six successive league wins, which has moved them to within five points of the league leaders having played two games fewer.

We are in the curious position of the Premier League title being in both teams’ hands. If Arsenal win at the Etihad, they will go eight clear and become mathematical favourites to win outright. A City victory or a draw, on the other hand, means Erling Haaland and his mates will lift the trophy for a fifth time in six seasons if they win all seven of their remaing fixtures after this one.

Nathan Aké the only absentee for Pep Guardiola

While Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, a former protégé of Guardiola, of course, is expected to be without key defender William Saliba and is sweating over the fitness of midfield man Granit Xhaka, City have just one injury absentee for the potential title decider. That said, Nathan Aké has become an important part of Guardiola’s plans this season, nailing down a regular spot on the left side of a three-man defence. The Dutchman will not face the Gunners due to a hamstring problem, which also makes him a doubt for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

Laporte in, Mahrez out?

Aymeric Laporte, one of the first names on the City team sheet last season, is the man most likely to come into the side for what would be only his eighth Premier League start this term.

There are unlikely to be too many surprises elsewhere, with Riyadh Mahrez, despite his hat-trick heroics in the FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, likely to drop back down to the bench with Kevin De Bruyne expected to be joined by Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gündogan and Jack Grealish in the attacking midfield four.

Possible Manchester City team to play Arsenal

Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Laporte; Stones, Rodri; Silva, De Bruyne, Gündogan, Grealish; Haaland.


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