Pep Guardiola explains Kevin De Bruyne absence vs Fulham as Arsenal handed surprise title boost
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has explained the reason for Kevin De Bruyne's absence from the squad ahead of their Premier League fixture against Fulham - in what could be a boost to Arsenal.
City take on Marco Silva's side at Craven Cottage just days after their potentially title-winning 4-1 win over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
De Bruyne played a major part in that success, scoring twice and earning the player of the match award.
His first goal came from a superb driving run and finish, while he formed an almost telepathic partnership with Erling Haaland.
The absence of the Belgian, therefore, will come as a blow to the Citizens, who are looking to make it eight wins in a row in the Premier League.
Speaking ahead of the game, Guardiola confirmed the reason behind his non-inclusion in the squad.
Guardiola explains De Bruyne absence
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Spaniard explained: "He doesn't feel good. He has some injury and he could not travel. No, I don't know [when he will be back].
"His impact [Julian Alvarez, replacing De Bruyne] has been really, really good from day one. Of course, with Erling he maybe doesn't have the minutes that he deserves. But his impact every time he plays has been incredible.
"We need to win the game and we need guys to have a sense of goal."
On Haaland's performance against Arsenal - which was supported by superb link-up play with De Bruyne - Guardiola commented: "He was involved with decisive actions, and he had the chances, he scored the goal. He was involved in the game in many, many different impacts.
"We know his stats but we don't talk about that [potentially breaking the PL goal record]. He will score more goals or less goals, it depends how he performs every day."
De Bruyne's absence could provide a twist in the tale of the title race, with City now in the driving seat.
And although they will overhaul Arsenal should they win their games in hand - as well as not dropping points in other games - Alvarez and other players will now need to step up to replace the Belgian's impact in the games that City's number 17 misses through injury.