Paul Merson predicts Arsenal will lose against Manchester City on one condition

Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be fit to start for Man City against Arsenal
Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be fit to start for Man City against Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Paul Merson fears Arsenal will inevitably lose against Manchester City if the reigning champions are able to field a full-strength starting XI in Sunday’s Premier League title showdown.

Mikel Arteta’s side lead the table on goal difference from Liverpool heading into the run-in, with City just a point in arrears.

The Gunners were in a similar position 12 months ago but collapsed during the business end of the campaign amid a mounting injury crisis.

Ahead of Sunday’s summit meeting, however, it is Pep Guardiola who has the biggest fitness concerns.

Both John Stones and Kyle Walker limped out of England duty over the course of the last week and the City stalwarts were reportedly missing from training on Thursday.

Manuel Akanji also picked up a knock playing for Switzerland, while there are also question marks over the likes of goalkeeper Ederson, captain Kevin De Bruyne andtop scorer Erling Haaland.

‘If Kyle Walker and John Stones don’t play I don’t see Arsenal not getting a result,’ Merson told Sportsskeeda, before offering a more downbeat assessment of his former side’s chances.

England v Belgium - International Friendly
John Stones suffered an abductor injury against Belgium
Kyle Walker tweaked his hamstring playing for England against Brazil
Kyle Walker tweaked his hamstring playing for England against Brazil (Picture: Getty)

‘If all the player are fit for City, they’ll win this, because they just turn up and win big football matches. This result will hinge of the fitness of the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Walker and Stones.

‘Let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Gunners are still behind City in terms of overall quality, because it is scary how good Pep Guardiola’s side can be when they are on song.

‘They’ve won 19 and drawn three since last tasting defeat against Aston Villa in December. That’s what Arsenal are up against.

‘I know plenty of people fancy Arsenal to finally go to the Etihad and get a great result, but a fully fit City are about as tough as they come.

‘If you’re a Liverpool fan, you’d want Arsenal to win this one, because City’s fixtures get ridiculously favorable after this match. I think they’ll go on and win another treble if they beat the Gunners this weekend.

‘This is the match of the weekend. The goal difference between the two sides is massive right now. If Arsenal win this game, they go four points clear of City and with that goal difference, it could prove decisive in the title race.

‘Both teams are evenly matched at the moment, however, and we could see a draw in this match.’

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