Manchester City have been given a team selection boost ahead of their Premier League clash against Brighton on Saturday with the potential return of one of their defenders.
Manchester Evening News reported that John Stones is back in training ahead of that match after missing the last two games through injury.
According to Manchester Evening News, the 25-year-old trained with his team-mates at the City Football Academy yesterday and could be available for selection on Saturday, although it is yet to be confirmed if he will be match fit in time for the visit of the Seagulls this weekend.
Stones played the full 90 minutes in Manchester City’s opening Premier League game of the season, a 5-0 thrashing of West Ham, but was ruled out of the subsequent matches against Tottenham and Bournemouth with a muscular problem picked up in training, as reported by Manchester Evening News.
In his absence, Pep Guardiola has gone with a central defensive pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte, with two goals conceded against Tottenham from only three shots faced and one goal conceded at Bournemouth, albeit a sumptuous free kick from Harry Wilson.
Stones recorded a passing accuracy rate of 94.2% against West Ham, which is slightly above the 93.9% and 93.6% that Otamendi can boast from the games against Bournemouth and Tottenham respectively [via WhoScored].
The Premier League champions kept a clean sheet in the one league match that the England defender has played this season and let in three goals in the two games that he missed, but they actually had a better concession ratio last season when he didn’t feature.
He played 24 Premier League games for Manchester City in 2018/19, in which they conceded 16 goals (0.67 per game). In the 14 league matches where he wasn’t involved, the champions let in seven goals, a concession rate of only 0.5 per game. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Statistically, Manchester City’s defence has been much worse this season without Stones in the side, a significant reversal of last season’s trend.
The 25-year-old has had a better passing completion rate than both Otamendi and Laporte recently and has also outperformed his centre-back team-mates in terms of tackles won.
Brighton might not pose the greatest threat to the Manchester City defence on Saturday – the Seagulls had only four shots in total on their last Etihad visit – but if Stones is available for the match, he should come back into the line-up given his superior statistics to the champions’ other centre-backs.
Manchester City fans, should Stones come back into the team against Brighton if he is fit enough to play? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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