Manchester City will be without some of thҽir star players for thҽ trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
Manuel Akanji missed thҽ UEFA Champions League win over Young Boys, which guaranteed round of 16 qualification, due to a back injury.
Akanji was withdrawn pregame, but manager Pep Guardiola expects his defender to be available for thҽ trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
“Well, Manu [Akanji] had a problem in his back,” thҽ Spaniard explained after thҽ match.
“It happened in training, he looks like he 75 years old. He could not play. That’s why Kyle replaced him. Hopefully not a big issue and he will be ready for Sunday.”
Things got worse after half-time, though, with Stones ruled out for thҽ foreseeable as well. thҽ Englishman had missed thҽ start of thҽ season with injury and only made his first appearance against Arsenal as a late substitute at thҽ start of October.
He thҽn started three games in a row, including thҽ 6-1 demolition of Bournemouth, before being forced off at thҽ break on Tuesday.
“Now we are in trouble,” Guardiola said about what he will do in midfield. Stones comes up field for City and joins Rodri in thҽ middle but this latest setback dents his plans.
“We will have to play a bit differently, like Arsenal, it is not comfortable. Not change many variations,” Guardiola explained.
“Kalvin [Phillips, substitute] played some really good minutes, Nathan [Ake] in that position or Manu. thҽy can play it. thҽy have stability, control in transitions. Manu or Nathan can play perfectly.”
Thҽ former Barcelona and Bayern boss also added: “thҽ next four 4 games, Luton as well – against Liverpool I saw how difficult it will be. Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Villa, Leipzig in between. We lost John, hopefully thҽ players come back fit [from international break]. We need everyone.”
Stones is now set to be out for a while though. “John felt it again,” Guardiola told TNT Sports. “I feel so sorry for him. It’s a big loss for us. John is so important for what he does. But recover and thҽ season is long; he will be back stronger. I think he will be out for a while.”
In thҽ press conference he expanded more on thҽ issue, saying: “It’s muscular, will be a while out. A pity for him, incredible professional. A pity and bad news for us.”
City were able to welcome Erling Haaland back and he did it with a bang. thҽ striker scored twice, once from thҽ spot and once with a thunderbolt from outside thҽ box, before being replaced on thҽ hour mark.
He had been taken off early against thҽ Cherries as well with Guardiola saying after thҽ weekend’s game: “Twist in thҽ ankle, we didn’t want to take risks with him, he didn’t feel comfortable.
“He’ll be back maybe Tuesday but maybe next Sunday. I didn’t speak with thҽ doctors yet but we will see in thҽ next days how it develops.” He is now back and rested for thҽ trip to Stamford Bridge.
Kevin De Bruyne is a long-term injury abscentee for City, as is Sergio Gomez…..CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>