English Premiership

Stones injury exacerbates Man City defensive crisis

John Stones (Getty Images)
John Stones (Getty Images)

London  - Manchester City's problems at the heart of their defence got even worse on Tuesday with the news John Stones is set to miss up to six weeks with a muscular injury.

The Premier League champions now have just one fit senior central defender available in Nicolas Otamendi with Aymeric Laporte ruled out until at least the end of the year after knee surgery.

"Injured this morning in training. Four, five or six weeks. It is a muscular problem," Guardiola said ahead of City's Champions League opener away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

Stones is expected to miss Premier League clashes with Watford, Everton, Wolves and Crystal Palace, as well as Dinamo Zagreb's visit to the Etihad in the Champions League in two weeks' time.

City are already counting the cost of not buying a replacement for departed captain Vincent Kompany, who left to become player-manager at Anderlecht at the end of last season.

Guardiola hinted that holding midfielder Fernandinho will be moved back to deputise in defence, whilst youngsters Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis may be given the chance to impress in the coming weeks.

"As a manager, it is an incredible challenge with just one central defender, Nico," added Guardiola.

"But I believe a lot with something people don't know about; the spirit and the commitment for everybody to make a step forward with a big commitment to solve this problem.

"I think Fernandinho, and Garcia and Harwood-Bellis from the academy will come forward for the next month."

Fixtures
Tue 07 Jul 20 19:00 PM (SAST)
Crystal Palace
Chelsea
Selhurst Park
Tue 07 Jul 20 19:00 PM (SAST)
Watford
Norwich City
Vicarage Road
Tue 07 Jul 20 21:15 PM (SAST)
Arsenal
Leicester City
Emirates Stadium
Results
Mon 06 Jul 20
Tottenham Hotspur 1
Everton 0
Sun 05 Jul 20
Southampton 1
Manchester City 0
Sun 05 Jul 20
Liverpool 2
Aston Villa 0
Logs
Team
P
W
PTS
1. Liverpool
33
29
89
2. Manchester City
33
21
66
3. Leicester City
33
17
58
4. Chelsea
33
17
57