Arsenal face nervy wait on fitness of Koscielny and Xhaka ahead of Everton clash

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Arsenal will hand late fitness tests to Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka ahead of Sunday’s fixture at Everton.

Koscielny and Xhaka have been struggling with respective foot and groin injuries but Aaron Ramsey is fit after a minor groin problem of his own.

Lucas Torreira remains suspended, Danny Welbeck is out with an ankle injury, and knee issues continue to sideline Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding.

Provisional squad: Leno, Cech, Maitland-Niles, Lichtsteiner, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Mavropanos, Sokratis, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Elneny, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Suarez, Ramsey, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah.

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Raheem Sterling pays for pupils from old school to attend Man City FA Cup semi-final with Brighton

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Raheem Sterling has arranged for 500 pupils from his former school to attend Manchester City‘s FA Cup semi-final with Brighton at Wembley.

A number of students from Ark Elvin Academy in London also visited Manchester on Thursday to meet the City and England forward and have a tour of the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling, 24, was raised in Neasden, near Wembley, after moving to England from Jamaica at the age of five.

Sterling said: “I have a close connection to Ark Elvin Academy having attended the school myself when it was Copeland Community School, so it is great to be able to give these students the chance to watch a game at Wembley.

“I grew up right next door to the stadium and would dream of one day playing in a cup final or even representing my country there.

“To now be able to play there myself is an honour and this is a great opportunity to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am.”

Sterling has been known to make significant charitable donations in the past and in 2017 made a “substantial” undisclosed contribution to the fund set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. His latest gesture is a joint collaboration with the club.

City’s chief operating officer Omar Berrada said: “We are very proud to support Raheem, as he reaches out to the community he grew up in, by giving FA Cup semi-final tickets to students from his old school. We hope all of the children enjoy their day at Wembley.”

City, who have already won the Carabao Cup final this season and top the Premier League, are bidding to take another step towards an unprecedented quadruple by securing a place in the FA Cup final. The team will then remain in London ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Tottenham.

Jubil Kunnassery, head of PE at Ark Elvin Academy, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Manchester City and Raheem Sterling for inviting us to Manchester and taking the time to meet us, answer questions and take pictures.

“All of the students were inspired by his words and we wish Manchester City and Raheem the best of luck for their game against Brighton on Saturday and the rest of the season.”

Mamadou Diallo, a year 10 student, added: “Raheem is someone that’s just like us and went to the same school. We know that if we work hard and follow our passion, we can do anything we want.”

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Why Kevin De Bruyne won't get back to his best this season for Manchester City

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Kevin De Bruyne has admitted he may not get back to his best this season as he aims to lift Manchester City’s quadruple bid.

De Bruyne opened the scoring in City’s 2-0 win over Cardiff on Wednesday and played the full 90 minutes to complete his latest comeback in a season ruined by injury.

His sixth-minute finish from a tight angle offered reminders of De Bruyne’s sparkling form last season, but he later admitted it was a mis-hit cross and that it was unrealistic for him to rediscover his best form in the final weeks of the campaign.

“To be fair I don’t think I’m going to be like last year,” the 27-year-old said. “I’m not setting a goal for myself anymore.

“It’s been hard in the end because I have had to come back four times now in the whole season.

“I try to be at the best level possible but I’m just trying to help the team win some titles. If I can help with that I’ll be happy.”

De Bruyne has suffered two significant knee injuries this season and was sidelined just before the international break with a hamstring problem.

The goal now is to stay fit for the final six weeks of the campaign as City continue to compete on three fronts, locked in a close title race with Liverpool while also in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and semi-finals of the FA Cup.

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Wednesday’s match was De Bruyne’s 25th appearance of the season, and his first full 90 minutes since February 27, a far cry from last campaign when he was one of the first names on Pep Guardiola’s team-sheet.

“Whatever happens, happens for me this year,” the Belgian added. “I want to do what I can and play at my best level but I won’t compare myself to last year when I played 70 games and was on such a roll.

“I’ve had to fight back, mentally, and it’s been tough because you can be injured once or twice but to be injured four times is hard work, I’m just happy to be back playing football.”

De Bruyne was joined in City’s midfield on Wednesday night by Phil Foden, who made his long-awaited first Premier League start and was unlucky not to score as the 18-year-old went close three times in the second half, including a shot which struck a post.

Much has been made of Foden’s struggle to break into City’s star-studded squad as other teenagers look abroad for playing time, but De Bruyne – who was a regular for Genk at the same age – said each player must take his own path.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

“You can’t compare what happens with anybody else in their career,” he said. “He’s happy here, doing really well and he plays a lot of minutes for his age.

“To play here, in this team, or in any top team in England, where you have 20 star players who are all top internationals who have played five to 10 years for their countries and for big teams and have the minutes he has, is incredible.”

Wednesday night also saw Callum Hudson-Odoi make his first Premier League start for De Bruyne’s former club Chelsea, and the Belgian admitted he is impressed by the depth of young English talent.

“I told the England guys a week ago that you should win the Euros,” he said. “I think they are favourites, with France.

“I see the guys already established, and those coming up, so the future looks really good.

“Will they win it? I don’t know, because only one team can win it but you have a chance to do well in the next 10 years.”

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