Pep Guardiola has confirmed John Stones and Kyle Walker are out of Sunday’s title showdown between Manchester City and Arsenal.

City’s defensive duo were both injured on international duty for England and their enforced absence is a major blow for the Treble winners ahead of the Etihad clash.

Walker suffered a hamstring injury in England’s 1-0 defeat to Brazil last Saturday, while Stones was forced off after just 10 minutes of the 2-2 draw with Belgium, both games at Wembley.

Asked about the injury situation, Guardiola said: “Injures? Ederson is much much better, but Kyle and John are out. It is what it is. For Kyle it will be more tougher than John [in terms of recovery], but I don’t now for how many games he will be out.”

When asked if he was surprised Stones started both games, when England boss Gareth Southgate had other options in defence, including Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite, Guardiola was tight-lipped. “I don’t comment on that situation,” said the City boss.

Reflecting on City still being in the hunt for a repeat of last season’s Treble, Guardiola said: “It’s good to be here. This season we have been really good. After what happened last season, to be in contention for the three most important titles of the season is so important.

“It’s 10 games left in the Premier League and, right now every game is important. We played really good the last month, but the international break, the first game after is always – you think ‘what will happen?’.

“Yesterday we trained well, we have two more training sessions and we will be ready for it again.”

Asked about Arsenal being criticised for their perceived over-celebration after beating Liverpool 3-1 back in February. “I don’t react for these things,” said Guardiola. “If you want to take a picture, take a picture. What is the problem?”

Arsenal lost 4-1 at City last season, with Guardiola asked what the difference is between the Gunners side then and now. “Same manager, same players,” said Guardiola. “They control many aspects of the game and every time they are better and better.

“When you have consistency in terms of ideas and the same manager, you always improve. If you change manager and players, it is more difficult.”

Kevin De Bruyne missed the international break for Belgium through injury, but trained all week at City, although Guardiola remained coy on whether the midfielder would be fit for Sunday.

“Kevin is really such an important player,” said Guardiola.

“It’s been a tough season for him with injuries and setbacks, he was out for a while, but he trained really well yesterday and we’re going to see how he is.”