Pep Guardiola has been handed an injury boost at Manchester City ahead of their game against Norwich this afternoon, with Ilkay Gundogan likely to feature despite the shoulder injury he suffered in last weekend’s defeat against Tottenham.
The Germany international was on the end of a heavy challenge in the final moments of the 1-0 defeat in north London, which left him clutching his shoulder in a lot of pain as he left the pitch.
It was reported earlier this week that it was looking increasingly likely that he wouldn’t be fit enough to feature against the Canaries. However, Guardiola has dispelled those rumours and has confirmed that the 30-year-old could play on Saturday afternoon, which is surely a boost to City’s hopes of picking up their first three points of the Premier League campaign.
After suffering a disappointing relegation in their last Premier League campaign, Norwich bounced back by winning the Championship title last season but struggled on the opening day of the new season, losing 3-0 at home to Liverpool.
Guardiola has shared his admiration for Daniel Farke in the build-up to the match at the Etihad Stadium, but if City have aspirations of winning the title again this season, then this is the sort of game they need to be winning comfortably.
The Citizens have failed to score in their opening two games of the new season, so it is a huge boost that Gundogan is likely to feature at the Etihad this weekend, as he finished as their leading scorer in the top flight last season with 13 goals.
Guardiola is certainly a big fan of the 30-year-old, singing his praises in 2019 by saying: “He’s an exceptional player, honestly. He’s one of Europe’s best players, in fact.”
The former Borussia Dortmund man enjoyed a remarkable run of form in the Premier League and comfortably enjoyed the best goalscoring season of his career, so it seems likely that he will be a key influence in Guardiola’s side again this season.
As City’s search for a new striker to replace Sergio Aguero continues, the Spaniard will be reliant on experienced players such as Gundogan to get the goals and see them through matches such as this, so he will be delighted that the German is fit to play today despite his shoulder problems during the week.