Kevin De Bruyne was handed his first start since January 20 as Pep Guardiola was also able to welcome Ilkay Gundogan back from injury for Manchester City’s clash with Arsenal.
Having suffered a hamstring injury in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa last month, De Bruyne came on as a substitute to help Premier League leaders City beat Everton 3-1 on Wednesday.
City won that rearranged fixture at Goodison Park without Gundogan, who had stepped up in De Bruyne’s absence.
The Germany international scored twice and won a penalty in City’s 3-0 win over Spurs last weekend but later sustained a minor groin injury.
Both De Bruyne and Gundogan – who has scored nine league goals since the turn of the year – were named in Guardiola’s line up for the meeting with the Gunners, managed by former City assistant Mikel Arteta.
Phil Foden, who scored against Everton, made way, along with Gabriel Jesus, seemingly accommodating De Bruyne’s place in a false nine role he has occupied in several matches this term, with Sergio Aguero again only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench.
Guardiola made five changes in all, welcoming back captain Fernandinho, centre-back John Stones and full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko.
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— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 21, 2021
Meanwhile, Arsenal were boosted by the return of Kieran Tierney from injury. The left-back had been absent from the XI since January 18.
Arteta also made five changes from Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leeds United last week,
Tierney’s introduction was one of five changes from Arteta compared to the side that started in the 4-2 win over Leeds United last week, with Pablo Mari and Rob Holding forming a new centre-back pairing.
Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe – the latter replacing Emile Smith Rowe – were also brought in.
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