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The final international break before this summer’s UEFA Euro 2024 tournament has come to a welcome end, which means the Premier League is back in action this weekend with the crucial clash of Manchester City against Arsenal. 

The champions welcome Mikel Arteta’s side to the Etihad this Sunday in a game that could have massive implications in this season’s title race. Heading into the game, Pep Guardiola’s side has several players under injury clouds. Here is a look at how both teams are shaping up ahead of Sunday’s huge match.

There is only one point separating Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, the clash between City and Arsenal is an opportunity for both teams to seize the initiative in the title race. A victory for either side is the opportunity to send a message to their opponent and Liverpool as the season reaches the penultimate stage.


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Injuries For Both Sides

There was a defensive double blow for Pep Guardiola mid-week, with Kyle Walker and John Stones both forced off with injury while away on England international duty.

Walker limped off during the first half of Saturday’s defeat to Brazil with what was later described as a tight hamstring. The issue was initially not thought to be too serious, however on Wednesday it was announced he would be having a scan and is rated 50-50 to face Arsenal. 

However, John Stones’ situation is less clear. After Tuesday’s draw against Belgium the City defender did not look comfortable when he had to make way just nine minutes into the game

Given Walker and Stones have been pivotal to Manchester City’s success so far this season, this will be a major concern for the Blues. Additionally, throw in goalkeeper Ederson still being out with a thigh problem Pep Guardiola may have some important reshuffling to do on Sunday.

Arsenal also has several players in doubt due to injury: Bukayo Saka and Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The pair withdrew from international duty with hamstring and achilles issues, respectively, however, their withdrawal from international duty was perceived to be a precautionary measure only. Time will tell.

Star midfielder Gabriel Martinelli is also in doubt for Sunday’s match. Martinelli has missed Arsenal’s past two games due to a foot injury. An update is expected on the status of Arsenal’s squad when Mikel Arteta faces the media for his pre-game press conference on Friday afternoon.


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Battle of the Midfield

On a more positive note, Arsenal’s Declan Rice v Manchester City’s Rodri will have soccer fans salivating, two of the best midfielders in the Premier League this season go head-to-head in a duel which could well be key to the outcome of the match.

Pep Guardiola’s side have lost just four times and Rodri was absent on each occasion. He is unbeaten in his past 62 matches for City, an incredible run stretching back to February last year. Astonishing.

Declan Rice spent the first half of this season playing deeper in midfield however more recently he has been pushed further forward and is enjoying his most prolific season to date, having contributed with six goals and six assists in all competitions.

Both teams have mouthwatering talent going in to this high-stake game, just look at the names –

Arsenal with Rice, Jorginho, Odegaard, Jesus, Havertz and Saka (possibly), and City, with Foden, Alvarez, Bernardo Silva……and let us not forget a little goal scoring freak of nature called Erling Haaland.

Latest Odds

Heading into the weekend, here are the latest Manchester City vs Arsenal odds available at Bovada Sportsbook:

Manchester City: -110

Arsenal: +280

Draw: +290

Who walks away victorious? Or will it be deadlock with a draw? Let us know who your money is on!