Ilkay Gundogan. Picture: REUTERS/RALPH ORLOWSKI
Ilkay Gundogan. Picture: REUTERS/RALPH ORLOWSKI

Manchester — Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is expecting a tough challenge when they face Arsenal in the Premier League on Thursday despite their comfortable win over the north London team in the League Cup final last Sunday.

City cruised to a 3-0 win at Wembley to secure their first title under manager Pep Guardiola and the league leaders have the chance to re-establish their 16-point gap atop the standings when they travel to the Emirates.

"We know Arsenal are able to play, they have a strong team. It is going to be challenging and we need to be ready," Gundogan said. "It won’t be easy. It is just maybe a bit weird to play them twice in four days."

After travelling to sixth-placed Arsenal, City host champions Chelsea in the league on Sunday followed by the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Basel.

"There are still plenty of huge games to play and the next one is on Thursday against the same opponent. It doesn’t stop," the German international said.

"There is not really a break to relax or enjoy. Now we try to prepare for the game on Thursday and try to get another win."

City head into their Champions League return leg against Basel with a 4-0 lead from the first leg in Switzerland.

City midfielder Fernandinho will miss the Arsenal match after failing to recover from a hamstring strain sustained against the London club in the League Cup final. He has played in every league match so far this season, scoring three goals along the way.