Manchester City are set to welcome back injury-ravaged duo Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane when the Premier League returns next week.
As per Manchester Evening News, the French defender, who missed several months with a knee injury earlier in the season, limped out of the Champions League win over Real Madrid in late February with a hamstring problem but is available to face Arsenal next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the German winger could be set for his first senior game in more than 10 months after overcoming an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture incurred last August – coincidentally, he made a tentative comeback in an under-23 fixture against the Gunners in the same week that Laporte got injured at the Bernabeu.
A sparsity of centre-backs in Pep Guardiola’s senior squad has seen Fernandinho moved into that role from his usual midfield position throughout the season, while neither Nicolas Otamendi nor John Stones has been overly convincing.
Laporte’s return would enable the manager to pick the player with the most interceptions per game (1.9) among the squad, as well as having an accomplished distributor of possession at the heart of Manchester City’s defence, with the 26-year-old boasting a 92.1% passing success rate. [via WhoScored]
Meanwhile, Sane’s return will allow Guardiola to call upon a player who hit 30 goals in the previous two seasons prior to his ACL injury, along with providing 37 assists. It could also inject fresh competition for fellow left winger Raheem Sterling, who began the 2019/20 campaign in scintillating fashion but has not scored this side of New Year’s Day (as per TransferMarkt).
With both Sane and Laporte in the team for the majority of last season, Manchester City were the Premier League’s highest scorers with 95 goals and had its second best defence in leaking just 23 goals (as per TransferMarkt).
This time around, with that duo missing almost all of the season, the champions have scored 68 times and conceded 31 in 28 league games so far. Preservation of those averages would see them end the season with 92 goals scored and 42 conceded.
Do you think that Laporte and Sane will start against Arsenal?
The return of Sane should sharpen their attack, while Laporte being back certainly ought to bolster their defence ahead of the visit of Arsenal next week.
Man City fans, how big a boost will it be to have Sane and Laporte back in the squad for the Arsenal game? Comment below with your views!
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