"They've worked on something…" – Arteta notices one unusual thing about Man City's starting XI
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola could have something unusual up his sleeve for their Premier League title clash at the Etihad.
Arsenal are still top but are looking over their shoulders at City, who have two games in hand on their title rivals.
Guardiola named a defensive unit of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji for the match at the Etihad, with Aymeric Laporte only making the bench.
City are without Nathan Ake, who was ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury against Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week.
"It can happen with subs, it can happen with shape. With Kyle Walker playing in the team, they are playing without any left-footers in their backline.
"For sure they have worked on something, like we have. At the end, it is down to the players."
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola acknowledged the importance of the game but insisted it would not be decisive in the Premier League title race.
"[There are] alot of tough games for both sides but we can't deny how important it is," he said.
"When you play against these types of teams, they control everything. Arsenal always have incredible details and care with the ball, the players they select to play are of the biggest qualities and skills and I think Mikel (Arteta) brings a different dimension.
"They are so aggressive, they can go to Anfield against the team who has been the best in transitions in recent years and they were better.
"In the two games we played this season, we felt and you have to challenge them on those terms. The quality they have in the build-up, on the second balls, it's difficult."
Manchester City team news
Starting XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Akanji; Stones, Rodri; Bernardo, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland.
Substitutes: Ortega, Lewis, Laporte, Gomez, Phillips, Palmer, Mahrez, Alvarez, Foden.
Arsenal team news
Starting XI: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Jesus.
Substitutes: Turner, Tierney, Kiwior, Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Vieira, Trossard, Nelson, Nketiah.