Man City hopeful on De Bruyne fitness for Arsenal – sources

Manchester City are optimistic that Kevin De Bruyne will be fit for Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash with Arsenal, sources told ESPN.

De Bruyne missed the FA Cup quarterfinal win over Newcastle United because of a groin injury, with the problem also ruling him out of of Belgium‘s friendlies against Republic of Ireland and England over the international break.

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But there’s growing hope that the midfielder will be available for selection against Arsenal after coming through a training session with the Under-23s on Tuesday. Jack Grealish, who was not part of the England squad while be continues his recovery from a muscle injury, has also been training at the City Football Academy this week.

Medical staff will continue to monitor De Bruyne, but he is expected to take part when first-team training resumes on Thursday.

Most of City’s international players are due back at the club by Friday at the latest ahead of their final preparations for Arsenal’s visit to the Etihad.

De Bruyne’s potential availability is a boost for manager Pep Guardiola, who is sweating over the fitness of Kyle Walker and John Stones.

Walker was forced off during England’s 1-0 defeat to Brazil on Saturday after suffering a hamstring injury while Stones was substituted early during the 2-2 draw with Belgium on Tuesday with an adductor problem.

Walker’s injury is not thought to be serious, but he still faces a race against time to prove his fitness before facing Mikel Arteta’s title challengers.

Meanwhile, sources have told ESPN that City are disappointed with the scheduling of their FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea.

City initially believed the game would be played on Sunday, April 21 — four days after their Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Real Madrid at the Etihad.

However, the club have since been told the fixture will take place at Wembley on the Saturday — 24 hours earlier — leaving Guardiola and his players just three days to recover from their game against the Spanish giants.

Neither Manchester United or Coventry — the teams in the other semifinal — are involved in European competition and, according to sources, initially expected to play on Saturday. City are also scheduled to play Brighton at the Amex on April 25 before their trip to Nottingham Forest three days later on April 28.