John Stones injury: Man City defender ‘wasn’t ready’ for Arsenal clash, insists Pep Guardiola

The England defender was one of nine homegrown players to retain their starting Premier League places for a fourth-round heavyweight clash on Friday night, with the manager keeping changes to a minimum in a bid to progress and deal a potentially psychological blow key ahead of a massive high-flying showdown between the respective title rivals next month.

Stones was troubled by the direct running and trickery of full-fledged Arsenal debutant Leandro Trossard in a heated affair at the Etihad Stadium after being left exposed on occasion by a lack of cover provided from the back right teenager Rico Lewis.

A difficult night for the 28-year-old was made worse shortly before half-time when he appeared to suffer a right hamstring injury in another fight with Trossard near the baseline. .

Stones received treatment but it was quickly clear he could not continue, limping off to be replaced by Aymeric Laporte, who had initially been replaced in the starting lineup by eventual match winner Nathan Ake.

Stones now looks set for another spell on the sidelines following his latest injury setback, with City facing a breakthrough month which begins with a trip to Tottenham and includes that mammoth meeting with Arsenal on February 15 as well as the first leg of their last Champions League. -16 draw against Bundesliga contenders RB Leipzig.

“I don’t know (how bad it is),” Guardiola said when asked for an update on Stones’ condition after the 1-0 win over Arsenal sealed by a fine finish. Ake in the second half. “Today he was not ready. I saw him from the first minutes.

“Maybe he was tired but he wasn’t ready and when that happens you get injured.”

standard Sport

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