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Friday, September 17, 2021

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Brazil call-ups leave City and United without starters for key fixtures

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The 2021-22 Premier League season may be in its infancy, but Manchester United and Manchester City will already be preparing for player absentees further down the line due to international commitments.

On Friday, Brazil named their squad for their South American World Cup qualifiers in September. City duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus are part of the squad, as is United midfielder Fred.

The Selecao are in action on 2nd, 5th and 9th of September (local time) during that break from domestic action. The last of that triple-header will be on a Thursday, meaning the players from the Manchester clubs will face a race against time to be back for their respective teams and their weekend fixtures.

United are scheduled to be in action on 11th September, when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford.

City are pencilled in to play on the same day, although face a much tougher challenge as they will visit Leicester City.

For City boss Pep Guardiola, having two key players potentially absent or not at full fitness for such an important fixture will be far from ideal.

While Zack Steffen has proven himself to be an able backup goalkeeper at the Etihad Stadium, in Ederson the Premier League champions have one of the best in his position on the planet. His quality on the ball, speed off his line and shot-stopping class make him vital to the way City operate.

As for Jesus, he is the only recognised centre-forward in the City squad at the moment, although that may yet change before the transfer window closes due to their interest in signing Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur.

Fred continues to divide opinion for United, but he is clearly trusted by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and featured in 30 Premier League games for the Red Devils last season, including 27 starts.

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