Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has ruled defender Nathan Ake out of Wednesday’s Premier League title showdown against Arsenal with a hamstring injury.
The reigning champions welcome the table-toppers to the Etihad Stadium looking to close the gap at the summit to two points. Man City also have two games in hand on the Gunners.
While much has been made of Arsenal’s injury woes – William Saliba may not play again this season due to a back problem and Granit Xhaka is a doubt to start on Wednesday – Guardiola has revealed his side head into the game without one of their surprise key performers this season in Ake.
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“Hopefully he can come back soon but for tomorrow he is out,” Guardiola said at a pre-match press conference.
“We will find the right player to do it, I don’t have doubts about that, we’ll play with 11.”
Guardiola added he doesn’t know if Ake will be fit to face Real Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final on May 9. The Dutchman picked up this hamstring problem in the second leg of their quarter-final with Bayern Munich.
Man City are currently without another natural left-back in their squad after selling Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal and loaning Joao Cancelo to Bayern Munich.
It is expected that left-footed centre-back Aymeric Laporte will step into Ake’s role. The Spain international has had his place in the starting lineup taken by the likes of John Stones, Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias in recent months.
Guardiola could instead choose to call upon summer signing Sergio Gomez, though he is vastly inexperienced at this level.