Man City: Pep Guardiola without John Stones for Arsenal clash
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will be without defender John Stones for their blockbuster Premier League clash against Arsenal this evening.
The Lowdown: City travel to north London…
City travel to north London tonight knowing a win against Mikel Arteta’s side will take them level on points with their fierce title rivals.
The Sky Blues were really losing ground against Arsenal but the latter side’s 1-0 loss to Everton and 1-1 draw at home to Brentford has gifted Guardiola an opportunity to seriously close the gap.
Arsenal still have a game in hand on City but both teams must play each other twice in the league, including tonight’s encounter, before this season ends.
The Latest: City without Stones…
In terms of team news, star striker Erling Haaland is apparently touch and go for the Emirates Stadium bout whilst England international Stones is definitely absent with a thigh problem.
The centre-back remains sidelined for City with Guardiola potentially turning to Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte in the middle.
That being said, Guardiola’s recent line ups indicate we can’t rule out surprises, with Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake also in real contention.
The Verdict: Blow for Pep?
Stones, when available, is clearly favoured by the Blues boss, with only Akanji playing more league minutes in terms of City’s current defensive options (WhoScored).
The 28-year-old is also an elite ball-playing defender, averaging the joint-highest pass accuracy (94.3%) in Guardiola’s squad (WhoScored).
Stones has played a significant role in City’s back line for the past year with his one of his most notable performances coming against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals last season.
The former Everton star was heralded for his assured and composed performance against the La Liga giants with members of the media quickly calling him an ‘absolutely magnificent’ defender.
Stones has been a consistent member of Guardiola’s title-winning squads since the Spaniard took charge, and for such a huge game, he will be sorely missed as an option.