Ahead of Manchester City’s all-important clash with Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final the Cityzens have received a major setback in form of an injury scare. Star forward Raheem Sterling is still struggling to recover full fitness ahead of the Sunday encounter which is going to be a potential chance for Pep Guardiola to bag his first English trophy. Sterling has been in a fine form this season and has been instrumental in City’s remarkable season which has seen them lose a Premier League game only once against Liverpool. David Silva remains on the sidelines for the match and Sterling’s absence can come back to haunt Guardiola in the intense battle.
Wenger knows how to materialise on opposition’s weakness; he was the one who stopped Guardiola from lifting the FA Cup in his first season in charge of City and can repeat the feat once again in the League Cup. However, Guardiola was happy to announce that Brazilian ace Gabriel Jesus has been deemed fit to play and could return in the playing XI against Arsenal. In Sterling’s absence, Iikay Gundogan could be the manager’s go-to man as he has been lately running havoc going forward and can be handy in scoring the goals.
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“He had a muscular problem. I don’t know if he will be ready for Sunday,” said Guardiola when asked about Sterling’s fitness for the final. But he gave some respite to the fans by confirming that Jesus is back in contention for the big game at the Wembley. Jesus has not featured in a single game for City since suffering a knee injury in December last year. “Having Gabriel Jesus back (soon) is such a big boost to us, you need all the players, like the fullbacks, to be fit and available,” said the City boss.
Apart from Silva and Sterling, Fabian Delph will also remain on the sidelines for the game after being sent off in Manchester City’s FA Cup loss to Wigan. The 2nd tier side dumped them out of the competition denting City’s aspirations of winning four trophies this season. Guardiola is a manager of certain principles and stated that he would have never wanted his team to go into a final after losing a game but believed that his side will bounce back stronger against Arsenal and recover from the loss.
“I always say I prefer to play a final having won a game,” said the Spaniard, who won 11 of his 12 Cup finals during spells as manager of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. “I would love to have not dropped out of the FA Cup but we have to stand up, recover and focus on the next game.” He also gave some early team news and mentioned that Claudio Bravo will keep the goal for City like the rest of the competition.