EPL

Man City defender Stones out for a month

By Sports Desk September 17, 2019

John Stones has been ruled out for a month with a muscle injury, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

City's defensive options had already been hit by Aymeric Laporte being ruled out for six months by a knee injury, while no replacement was signed for departed club captain Vincent Kompany.

That left Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as City's only senior centre-backs and the pair looked shaky last time out as the champions went down to their first Premier League defeat since January, losing 3-2 away to promoted Norwich City.

City will be further stretched for the upcoming period after Guardiola told reporters ahead of a Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk that Stones was injured in training on Tuesday.

"A month, four or five weeks," Guardiola said when asked how long Stones would be out.

Guardiola previously indicated full-back Kyle Walker and defensive midfielder Fernandinho - an unused substitute against the Canaries - could be options in the heart of City's defence.

The City boss said he could also turn to teenage duo Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis to address the growing injury crisis at the back.

"[It is a] Big challenge. For me as a manager, it's an incredible challenge: just one central defender in Nico," he added.

"But I believe a lot. People don't know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players are going to come back with Fernandinho, Garcia, Harwood-Bellis.

"It's happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. If they are not able, they are not able. We have to have 11 players on the pitch, and I like it, finding a solution."

Stones will likely miss Premier League games against Watford, Everton and Wolves at least as well as an EFL Cup trip to Preston North End and a Champions League home game against Dinamo Zagreb.

City will also be without Phil Foden against Shakhtar, with Guardiola confirming: "He has a virus, a problem with the stomach. He's not able [to play] this game or I think the next."

Related items

  • Pochettino backs 'natural leader' Kane to step up at Spurs Pochettino backs 'natural leader' Kane to step up at Spurs

    Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is backing Harry Kane to step in as a 'natural leader' at the North London club in the absence of captain Huge Lloris.

    Lloris, who also leads the France national team, suffered an arm injury a fortnight ago against Brighton and is expected to be sidelined until the new year.

    Spurs have had a difficult month, having been eliminated by Colchester United in the League Cup, before heavy defeats to Bayern Munich in Europe and the Seagulls before the international break.

    But Pochettino is backing Kane, who has captained England for the past two years, to step in and fill the void left by Lloris seamlessly.

    "He does not need to feel too much pressure. The most important thing is to not show too much responsibility on your shoulders and to act natural," he said.

    "The problem is if you need to act. If you are not a real leader and you need to act, you spend energy thinking 'how do I need to face this problem?'

    "But if you trust in yourself and you are a natural leader, then I promise you don't feel the responsibility."

    Spurs host Watford on Saturday afternoon as they look to improve a recent run of just one win in six games in all competitions.

  • Lampard looking at the bigger picture with Pulisic Lampard looking at the bigger picture with Pulisic

    Frank Lampard says he is looking at the bigger picture with Christian Pulisic, amid speculation surrounding a loan move in January for the United States international.

    The 21-year-old completed a £58 million move from Borussia Dortmund in January, but stayed on loan with the German club before joining the Blues this summer.

    Pulisic was a regular in the team back in August but the return to fitness of Willian and Pedro in recent weeks has limited his game time.

    Chelsea have won their last four games in all competitions with a settled starting lineup, but Lampard is taking a long-term view with much of the season still to pan out.

    "Christian (Pulisic) has come to us in a big move, let's make no mistake about it. He's just turned 21 and we've got a competitive squad here," Lampard told reporters.

    "I said it before the last game, I always have a problem who to pick and people make my decisions in training or how they’re playing, and at the minute with winning four on the bounce I need the edge of staying in the team.

    "Christian, as with every player in the squad, needs to work hard in training, keep improving, see the direction we're going and be a part of it. All the players are the same there.

    "Huge credit to him for coming through at Dortmund at such a young age, but then it brings other difficulties when sometimes you're out of the team.

    "You come to Chelsea and it’s a similar situation. The demands are huge. The interest from outside is huge and he’s a young boy. I see the big picture with Christian and I see it with all the young players."

    Chelsea will look to continue their fine recent form as they host Newcastle United on Saturday.

  • FIFA 20: Aguero & Ibrahimovic included in first Ultimate Scream pack FIFA 20: Aguero & Ibrahimovic included in first Ultimate Scream pack

    Sergio Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been included in FIFA 20's first Ultimate Scream pack ahead of Halloween.

    EA Sports announced the release of the FIFA Ultimate Team cards on Friday, with Manchester City striker Aguero and LA Galaxy star Ibrahimovic among the standout names.

    Top-rated Aguero is joined in the first batch by fellow Premier League players Dele Alli, Nicolas Otamendi and Bernard, with a second group of players to be released next Friday.

    Below, we have the list of FUT cards that are up for grabs.

    FUT Ultimate Scream pack

    LM: Bernard (Everton) - 84

    CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) - 85

    LM: Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund) - 85

    CAM: Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) - 85

    CB: Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan) - 86

    CDM: William Carvalho (Real Betis) - 86

    CAM: Dele Alli (Tottenham) - 87

    CAM: James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) - 88

    CAM: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) - 88

    ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) - 88

    ST: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) - 91

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.