Arsenal v Manchester City: Early team news as Unai Emery reveals Ainsley Maitland-Niles set to start at left-back against Pep Guardiola's champions
PUBLISHED: 23:15 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 23:22 10 August 2018
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Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has confirmed the highly-rated Ainsley Maitland-Niles will start at left-back against Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.
Speaking at the club’s training HQ London Colney ahead of the eagerly-awaited clash against Pep Guardiola’s acclaimed side Emery confirmed the central midfielder will be drafted in as a defensive replacement.
The move has been forced on the former PSG boss as first choice Nacho Monreal and stand-in Sead Kolasianc have been ruled out due to knee injuries.
Kolasinac is not expected to feature until October at the earliest after sustaining the injury against Chelsea during the pre-season friendly match in Dublin last week.
Emery also confirmed that Monreal has now returned to training but will be short of match fitness for the weekend.
The 46-year-old head coach revealed he and his coaching staff have been working intensively with Maitland-Niles during training in a bid to prepare him to face last seasons all-conquering Citizens.
He said: “We have Koscielny out with a long injury and then also Kolasinac has a long injury.
“Nacho Monreal began to train with the team [on Friday]. As well, Danny Welbeck has come in this week but on Sunday it will be early to start playing him.
“The other players are OK and we are working on the possibility to work with Ainsley, who has experience in this [left-back] position.
“We want to give him confidence. I am going to decide tomorrow [Saturday] on the first 11, but Ainsley is the player who started the last match against Lazio.”
Emery also confirmed Aaron Ramsey is fit to play.
Sunday’s eagerly-awaited clash has handed Emery with a tough start against a side that lifted last term’s crown by finishing 37 points ahead of the Gunners as well as 19 points in front of runners-up Manchester United.