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Man City Defensive Trio Doubtful for Arsenal Tussle

Last updated: 27 Mar 2024
John Eastwood 27 Mar 2024
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  • Man City host the Gunners in a key clash on Sunday in the title race
  • Kyle Walker and John Stones were both injured in England’s fixtures this week
  • Manuel Akanji withdrew from Switzerland duty with a knock
kyle walker john stones
Man City could be without two key defenders in John stones and Kyle Walker against Arsenal (Getty Images).

Walker Injured vs Brazil

In England’s 1-0 loss to Brazil on Saturday night, Kyle Walker went off injured in the first half. The right back was captain of the Three Lions and was replaced by Ezri Konsa. 
  • Walker Injured vs Brazil
  • Akanji Withdraws from Switzerland Squad
  • Stones Exits Belgium Clash
  • Pep Guardiola’s Defensive Options

The early indications are that a tight hamstring was the reason for Walker’s withdrawal after 20 minutes. Reports state that he still has an outside chance of being fit to face Arsenal.

Akanji Withdraws from Switzerland Squad

To increase Pep Guardiola’s headaches, Swiss central defender Manuel Akanji withdrew from his country’s squad. He has now returned for Man City for treatment. 

Akanji has made 34 appearances for City this season and would likely have played in Kyle Walker’s position should the vice-captain not have recovered in time to face the Gunners. 

The former Dortmund centre back played the full 90 minutes of Switzerland's 0-0 draw vs Denmark last Saturday.

Stones Exits Belgium Clash

After the Walker and Akanji news earlier this season, disaster struck for Man City on Tuesday night. John Stones only lasted a few minutes of England’s 2-2 draw against Belgium before Joe Gomez took his place. 

Gareth Southgate took no blame for the injury, saying: "Of course, we're disappointed if he's got a problem. It looks like it's in the abductor area. He came in on the back of not playing for two weeks, so it's not about overload. But I hate sending players back to their clubs injured."

Pep Guardiola’s Defensive Options

Of the three doubtful players, John Stones is the least likely to feature. If Kyle Walker and Manuel Akanji were to miss out, we could see Rico Lewis at right back. 

Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake could form the centre back pairing with Josko Gvardiol at left back. The last resort would be to move Rodri into the back line and start Mateo Kovacic in central midfield. 

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