By Will Butcher

Arsenal have a received a massive boost ahead of Sunday’s clash against Manchester City after Pep Guardiola revealed he is without five first-team players.

Speaking ahead of the hotly-anticipated Premier League encounter at the Etihad, Guardiola told City’s official website that he will be without injured trio Ilkay Gundogan, Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph.

The former Barcelona boss will also be without Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero for the hotly-anticipated encounter, as they continue to serve their suspensions.

“Vincent, Fabian Delph and Ilkay are out,” Guardiola said. “We are sad for Ilkay. We are going to miss him a lot. But it’s what it is – it’s unlucky.

“We don’t have Ilkay and Fernandinho. Another one is going to play and they are going to do as well as possible.”

Germany international Gundogan suffered a knee injury against Watford on Wednesday night, which is expected to keep him out for a number of months.

Captain Kompany remains out as he battles his injury demons, while Delph is recovering from a groin operation.

Aguero is serving the third game of a four-match ban for his horror tackle on Chelsea’s David Luiz, while Fernandinho was sent off in the fracas after the Argentinian’s tackle.

Without the senior quintet, Arsene Wenger’s side will fancy their chances away in Manchester as they look to close the gap between themselves and league leaders Chelsea to just three points.

However, the Gunners have their own injury problems with Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla and Shkodran Mustafi all sidelined against City.

In other Arsenal news, Paul Merson has delivered this verdict on striker Welbeck.