Manchester City will be keen to leapfrog Arsenal in the Premier League table this weekend with a win over their rivals, but will have to do so without some key men.
The Citizens come into the match with as many as five key players missing out due to injury and suspension.
Pep Guardiola will have been angered by his players reaction to the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, which saw him not only lose pace in the title race, but lose both Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho to suspensions.
The Argentine sparked chaos in the closing minutes of the game by taking out David Luiz with a very clear and blatant two footed act of aggression, which enticed a mini-brawl. Fernandinho also lost himself in the fracas, and found himself pushing Cesc Fabregas, and eventually pushed him clean over the hoards around the pitch, and found himself red carded also.
They will also have to make do without key trio Ilkay Gundogan, Fabian Delph and Vincent Kompany also, who are all ruled out through injury. The German midfielder has just been starting to impress after his summer move from Borussia Dortmund, and is now expected to miss the rest of the campaign. His previous record with injuries were always a worry, and now those thoughts have become a reality.
Pep revealed the club’s dispair over the loss of Ilkay and the rest of their absences in his pre-match conference.
“Vincent, Fabian Delph and Ilkay are out,” Guardiola said. “We are sad for Ilkay. We are going to miss him a lot. But it’s what it is – it’s unlucky. Sometimes it happens in football.
“He is sad, we are sad. The action of the opponent was correct. It was an unlucky situation.
“We don’t have Ilkay and Fernandinho. Another one is going to play and they are going to do as well as possible.”
Sergio Aguero and Kompany’s importance to City have been proven a number of times, but one player I believe is somewhat of a bigger loss is Fernandinho. The Brazilian is one of their unsung heroes in my opinion, dictating the tempo from the base of the midfield, as well as chipping in within the final third with goals also.
His absence should allow our forward players much more space going forward, and with Yaya Toure and Fernando likely to operate at the base of the midfield, we should be able to get them on the backfoot when countering.
How confident are you of our chances thanks to these key losses? Or does the Everton result cloud any optimism?