Men's Team

Gundogan and De Bruyne start as Stones clocks up century of Premier League appearances

Gundogan and De Bruyne start as Stones clocks up century of Premier League appearances
Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne return to the City starting XI for our game at Arsenal this afternoon.

Gundogan, who won the Premier League Player of the Month award after a blistering January, missed our win at Everton with a groin problem.

And De Bruyne’s 10-minute cameo at Goodison Park was his first appearance for a month after suffering a hamstring injury.  

John Stones makes his 100th Premier League appearance for the Club, as Pep Guardiola makes five changes to his starting side.

Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko are also back, with Phil Foden, Rodri, Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte dropping to the bench.

Sergio Aguero is again amongst the substitutes as he continues his comeback after an injury-hit year.  

Nathan Ake is the only senior absentee. The Dutch defender, who hasn’t played since our Boxing Day win over Newcastle, isn’t yet fully fit and remains in Manchester to continue his recovery period.

English Premier League
1 Manchester City Man City 27 20 5 2 56 17 39 65 WWWWW
2 Manchester United Man United 27 14 9 4 53 32 21 51 DDWDD
3 Leicester City Leicester 27 15 5 7 46 31 15 50 DWWLD

City team

XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling

Subs: Steffen, Walker, Jesus, Aguero, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Foden

Arsenal team

XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Elneny, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Pepe, Aubameyang

Subs: Ryan, Cedric, David Luiz, Gabriel, Ceballos, Willian, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette

WATCH: Gundogan: I feel hungrier than ever!

City tactics

There is no natural, out-and-out striker in the City starting XI today, with both Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero on the bench.

That means a False 9 will be employed, with flexibility and fluidity in attacking areas vital. 

Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne have all played that role for City in the past, as has Ilkay Gundogan, our top scorer in the Premier League with 11 in his last 12.

Regardless of who is given that responsibility, City will play a 4-3-3 formation, with possession of the ball central to our approach. 

Arsenal, with former City assistant manager Mikel Arteta in charge, play a similar style. They will look to dominate possession and in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang they have one of the league's most potent strikers. 

And Guardiola is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task we face. In his pre-match press conference on Friday, he spoke of Arsenal’s dominance in recent weeks, saying: “All I can say is that the last month or two months have shown me that all the managers need time.

“They play better than the opponent in every game, as a manager you want the results you deserve, sometimes it doesn’t happen.

“And in the games they are always better than the opponent when you analyse the control of the game, creating chances and conceding few.

“We’ll need to play as good as possible with the ball and run a lot because they have exceptional build up play.”

Victory today would see City equal the Club record of 11 consecutive away wins across all competitions and extend our remarkable winning run to 18 games. 

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Stats

City are the first top-flight team to win their opening 10 matches of a calendar year.

Victory against Everton extended our record run to 17 matches in all competitions, 12 of them in the league.

We are unbeaten in 24 competitive games since a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham in November.

The loss versus Spurs was the last time we trailed in any Premier League fixture.

City can equal the club record of 11 successive away victories in all competitions, set from May to November 2017.

We have kept 22 clean sheets, more than any other team in the top five European leagues or top four divisions in England.

lkay Gundogan is our leading scorer in the Premier League, with his 11 goals all coming in his last 12 appearances.

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