Man City have reportedly been dealt another major blow as John Stones faces at least four weeks out of action due to a muscular injury.
The reigning Premier League champions have already had defensive troubles this season after former influential captain Vincent Kompany departed over the summer.
That was followed by a serious injury suffered by key figure Aymeric Laporte, with the Sun noting that he now faces around six months out after undergoing surgery on his knee.
Now, the situation has gotten even worse for Pep Guardiola, as he has confirmed that Stones is also out for at least four weeks after suffering an injury blow of his own.
“He [Stones] is out four, five or six weeks. He was injured in training this morning. It is a muscular problem,” he is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“For me as a manager it is an incredible challenge. But I believe in something people don’t know about – spirit and commitment. We will make steps forward to solve this problem.”
Time will tell whether or not the City boss can come up with the solution, as this could be a decisive blow in the Premier League title race while it isn’t ideal timing either with the Champions League returning this week.
Nevertheless, major question marks have been raised over the Stones-Nicolas Otamendi partnership in the heart of the Man City defence anyway given how they’ve got a poor record together from their previous stint in the starting XI, while it didn’t show many signs of improvement in the 3-2 defeat to Norwich City at the weekend.
In turn, Guardiola will have to find an alternative solution, but it promises to be a real test of their depth and quality in the coming weeks as this could hand Liverpool a major boost in their push to increase their early lead at the top of the Premier League table.
No side will want to be aided by injuries suffered by their rivals though, and so it’s an unfortunate turn of events for Man City with Laporte and Stones both now sidelined.