Manchester City defender Micah Richards is expected to return to fitness for the visit of Arsenal on Sunday.

The England international has missed City's last two games with a calf injury, including the club's first league defeat of the season against Chelsea.

Richards has shown some of his best form in a City shirt prior to being ruled out, and will prevent Roberto Mancini having to chose between the inexperienced Stefan Savic, or even call on Wayne Bridge or Nedum Onuoha to fill one of the two full-back positions.

"I think Micah will be okay for Sunday," Mancini said.

"Then we have Pablo, who can play on the left."

The 23-year-old's return comes at a crucial time for City, who after seeing their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League cut to two points, will be keen to get back to winning ways against an Arsenal side who haven't lost in the league since October.

The current league leaders could even be usurped at the top of the Barclays Premier League by Manchester United come kick-off at the Etihad Stadium, but Mancini is hoping to make an immediate return to form.

"We don't have a problem bouncing back," Mancini said. "I am sure we will. We play Arsenal on Sunday. At this moment, Arsenal are playing very well. It will be difficult but we need to start again."

He added: "After 15 games we are on the top, with two more points than United. The season is long. We have said that before.

"We are strong enough to start winning again and one result doesn't change anything. We know if we want to win, we should continue to play well, like we did at Chelsea."

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