Man City dealt huge injury blow in Premier League title race with Arsenal

Jack Grealish looks on

Manchester City looked destined to face Fulham on Saturday lunchtime with a fully fit squad, however Jack Grealish has been named as a last-minute shock absentee due to illness.

It is a must-win clash in the title race for the team chasing a record-breaking fourth-in-a-row, as they have the opportunity to overtake Arsenal ahead of the Gunners' fixture at Manchester United on Sunday. They have only played two matches all season with a fully fit squad, and hoped to be able to do the same for a second weekend on the run.

However, when Grealish was not amongst the City starting line-up or subs, Pep Guardiola was forced to explain why. "Yes [he’s okay]," the manager confirmed. "He felt in the last moment not well and a little bit ill but he’s fine."

Grealish had been named on the bench for City's 5-1 drubbing of Wolves seven days ago before making a late cameo as a substitute, so would have hoped to have staked a claim for a starting spot at Craven Cottage. His side also have their critical game in hand against Tottenham Hotspur to play on Tuesday, so it remains to be seen whether the winger returns in time. Guardiola's side are just one point behind with an inferior goal difference, so even a draw would swing the title race far in the North Londoners' favour.

READ MORE: Kylian Mbappe confirms transfer decision after Mikel Arteta Arsenal admission and Chelsea trial

READ MORE: Mikel Arteta responds to pre-Man City footage that has left Arsenal supporters fuming

Guardiola also named one change to his starting line-up for Fulham with Kyle Walker making way for Ruben Dias, meaning Manu Akanji switched to right back. He revealed there had been a small fitness concern for the England international in the build-up to today, though not one that is big enough to rule him out of the matchday squad.

He answered: "Nothing specific. Kyle didn’t train for the last two days. We have a game on Tuesday and Ruben is so reliable in these types of games. That is why I have decided on that."