Connect with us


Manchester City left with five fully-fit defenders after fresh injury blow in Arsenal stalemate



| Last Updated:


Pep Guardiola’s concerns over squad fitness have become even worse in their first contest back after the final international break of the season.

Manchester City played out a 0-0 draw with Premier League title rivals Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with manager Guardiola tasked with forming a tactical set-up in the absence of two of his defensive names.

Kyle Walker was withdrawn early from duties with Gareth Southgate’s side after sustaining a hamstring problem in a 0-1 defeat to Brazil, while his club and country colleague John Stones followed suit with an adductor issue in the 2-2 draw with Belgium.

City have a mammoth run of games on the horizon across the course of the next month, with an FA Cup semi-final and UEFA Champions League quarter-final double-header mixed in with the club’s hectic Premier League schedule.

However, while John Stones and Kyle Walker are expected to be some way off full match fitness and ready to start for the Premier League champions, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have sustained yet another injury blow.

Nathan Ake was withdrawn inside the opening 30 minutes against Arsenal, having appeared to suffer a problem with his calf and Manchester City’s coaching staff forced into bringing on Rico Lewis for the remainder of the contest.

The latest injury problem means Pep Guardiola will have five fully-fit defenders to pick from at present for the visit of Aston Villa this week in the aforementioned Lewis, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Josko Gvardiol, and Sergio Gomez.

Lewis moved into the right-back role against Mikel Arteta’s side for the remaining minutes of the match, while Manuel Akanji shifted into central defence alongside Ruben Dias, leaving Josko Gvardiol to play at left-back.

Manchester City have little time to rest, reset, and put together a new tactical plan for their next outing as they take on Unai Emery’s Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in the late Wednesday night kick-off.

Villa have already taken points away from Manchester City this season in a contest that proved to be arguably the club’s worst performance of the campaign so far, in a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park in early December.