Manchester City will be without one of their most important players when they travel to Arsenal tonight.
But it’s not Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva or Raheem Sterling. It’s Fernandinho, who’s marshalled their midfield brilliantly this season.
But he suffered a hamstring injury during City’s Carabao Cup final win over Arsenal on Sunday.
City battered Arsenal at Wembley. However, Arsenal will feel Fernandinho’s absence could help them get a shock 10/3 win.
There isn’t really a natural replacement for the 32-year-old in City’s squad. Ilkay Gundogan will have to rein in his attacking instincts and do a job for the team to cover.
Gundogan is a creative midfielder who likes to get forward. Now he’s fully fit, he looks like the driving presence of his Borussia Dortmund days again. But that’s not what Pep Guardiola will need at the Emirates.
De Bruyne and Silva are both attacking midfielders, which leaves Gundogan with a crucial defensive role.
The German will have to keep a particularly close eye on Mesut Ozil. If the playmaker gets into space, he’ll create plenty of problems for the visitors.
He’ll also be asked to spray the ball around the pitch and kick off attacks when he wins possession.
If he does his job, City’s quality in the final third can make the difference.
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