Pep Guardiola’s nightmare leaves Man City preparations vs Arsenal in tatters

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will be worrying about his side’s fitness as they return from the international break ahead of the Premier League showdown with Arsenal. Before his players departed, he had one simple message for them: avoid injuries.

Usually, this is standard advice from Guardiola. However, considering the amount of friendlies scheduled during this break, he urged his players to be mindful of their exertion levels, bearing in mind the heavy schedule awaiting them upon return across three separate competitions.

Erling Haaland was specifically warned by Guardiola who said he’d ‘come after’ him if he returned injured. Thankfully, the footage of Haaland limping in training didn’t lead to something more serious and he managed to start two matches for Norway.

“He’s not my player anymore,” Guardiola remarked about Haaland and whether he would prefer if he didn’t play this week. But it wasn’t Haaland he should have been concerned about.

The first worrisome case was Kyle Walker. Although he tried to push through, the defender was forced to limped out of England’s loss to Brazil due to injury.

Gareth Southgate admitted that he didn’t know the severity of Walker’s problem but showed concern as the full-back usually stays clear of injuries. Walker himself shared a post saying he hoped his injury won’t turn out to be too severe.

Erling Haaland was specifically warned by Guardiola who said he’d ‘come after’ him if he returned injured. Thankfully, the footage of Haaland limping in training didn’t lead to something more serious and he managed to start two matches for Norway.

“He’s not my player anymore,” Guardiola remarked about Haaland and whether he would prefer if he didn’t play this week. But it wasn’t Haaland he should have been concerned about.

The first worrisome case was Kyle Walker. Although he tried to push through, the defender was forced to limped out of England’s loss to Brazil due to injury.

Gareth Southgate admitted that he didn’t know the severity of Walker’s problem but showed concern as the full-back usually stays clear of injuries. Walker himself shared a post saying he hoped his injury won’t turn out to be too severe.

As it stands, the defence against Arsenal is down to Rico Lewis, Josko Gvardiol, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake. Not ideal.

Matheus Nunes was given a chance to impress in Portugal’s second friendly while others were granted some rest like Bernardo Silva and Ruben Dias. But Nunes wasn’t in their squad to face Slovenia with a reported foot injury, and compounds the nightmare international break for Guardiola.

City already had injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s clash with Arsenal, with seven players including Ederson, Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish uncertain to be available. In addition, Haaland, Phil Foden, Josko Gvardiol, Ake, Jeremy Doku and Mateo Kovacic all started two games during the international break, while Julian Alvarez, Rodri, Silva and Dias played full 90 minutes.

Despite the worries, there’s a good chance that Ederson, De Bruyne and Grealish will be fit to face Arsenal, with positive reports on Walker’s fitness too. Guardiola will be hoping for some good news after a tough ten days.

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