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Wenger expects entertaining clash

COUNTERPARTS: Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola greet before Arsenal and City lock horns

COUNTERPARTS: Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola greet before Arsenal and City lock horns

It may be matchday but as usual, transfer gossip dominates the Man City headlines.

You’d think the season was done and dusted the way media outlets are disregarding one of the Blues’ biggest games of the season… well, there’s unfinished business yet.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is certainly of that opinion and he told press he expects an entertaining clash at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

As broadcast via BT Sport, the Frenchman stated: “So we come out of a difficult period and we play at home in a very big game so it’s a good opportunity for us to bounce back.

“I think it’s two teams who – when you look at the numbers – have the best numbers in the final third of the league.

“So that promises to be a very positive, attacking game.”

Elsewhere, journalists at the Manchester Evening News have been predicting City’s starting XI.

(Did you know you can do the same in the CityMatchday app?)

Writes James Robson: “All the indications from Guardiola have been that he will stick with his philosophy of all out attack - and coming up against a like-minded manager like Arsene Wenger it could make for a thrilling game at the Emirates.

“I expect to see just the one holding midfielder - unless Kevin de Bruyne is deemed not fit enough to start. Even then, Yaya Toure is likely to be pushed up into an attacking role, rather than anchoring alongside Fernandinho.

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“Once again it is a question of whether Guardiola goes for Aleks Kolarov or Nicolas Otamendi in the centre of defence alongside John Stones, while Bacary Sagna should start at right back, with Pablo Zabaleta still overcoming a knock.”

Charlotte Duncker agrees: “Everyone knows that Pep Guardiola's game plan is attack, attack, attack no matter who the opposition. So despite Arsenal's forward line threat do not expect any changes to the way that City will set up at the Emirates.

“If Guardiola's front five get it right then City should ease past an Arsenal side who find themselves in the middle of a crisis.

“Saying that with the threat of Arsenal's front line, City's defence will need to improve from the display against Liverpool at home two weeks ago.

“John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are the best bet for City's centre pairing with Fernandinho taking up the left back position and Bacary Sagna being reinstated at right back.”

Ciaran Kelly echoes: “With an out of sorts David Ospina in goal, City have a chance to make a real statement - having failed to beat a top four rival since December.

“With Kevin De Bruyne fit, the only real selection dilemma is at left-back - where Fernandinho has stepped up in the big games.”

Moving onto the transfer rumours, the Sun believe City are plotting to strengthen the backline with a £42million double swoop for Michael Keane and Benjamin Henrichs.

Mike McGrath reports: “Everton were leading the £25million chase for Keane following his stunning [displays] for Burnley this season, with Chelsea and Manchester United also tracking his progress since leaving Old Trafford.

“But City are now weighing up their move after getting impressed by his performances and his start with England.

“Keane, 24, played alongside John Stones for Gareth Southgate in the victory over Lithuania last week.

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“And he put in a commanding display in the defeat to Germany four days earlier when he made his Three Lions debut.

“Burnley are resigned to losing their star man in the summer as big clubs circle around the centre-back.

“He only has one season left on his Turf Moor deal but will still command a huge fee on the current market.

“City will also benefit from Keane being a ‘homegrown’ player, as only Fabian Delph, Gael Clichy, Raheem Sterling and Stones were listed in their February squad.

“City are also chasing 20-year-old Benjamin Henrichs, who has a reported £17million price tag on his head from Bayer Leverkusen and is also on Bayern Munich’s wanted list.

“Guardiola sees the Germany international as having the pace his team needs in the full-back area.

“The youngster can also play as a winger but has been targeted as City consider their options at the back with Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy out of contract this summer.”

Meanwhile, the Express’ Jack Wilson claims Guardiola is keen on securing the services of William Carvalho.

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“The Sporting Libson midfielder, 24, is represented by (Pep’s brother) Pere Guardiola,” Wilson explains.

“And Pep wants Pere to help pave the way for Carvalho to make a £25m move to the Etihad when the transfer window reopens.

“City are looking for a powerful midfielder to succeed Yaya Toure.

“Carvalho is renowned as one of the best up and coming midfielders on the planet.

“He won Euro 2016 with Portugal and has been a long-term target for the Premier League big boys.

“Carvalho has interested Arsenal recently while David Moyes was keen to bring him to Manchester United during his ill-fated reign.

“Carvalho is keen on a move to England so he can ply his trade in one of Europe’s bigger leagues next season.

“Sporting have struggled to keep pace with Porto and Benfica in the Primeira Liga this term and he sees a move to City as a way of challenging for silverware.”

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Manchester City face Arsenal in the late kick-off on Sunday and there are plenty of headlines about both sides in the build-up to the top six clash.

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