Manchester City will face Arsenal in a pivotal Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, but they will have to do so without John Stones.
The English defender will not be participating in this crucial encounter, as announced by City’s manager, Pep Guardiola.
This comes as a setback for City, as they aim to continue their remarkable Premier League winning streak.
The history between the two teams in recent encounters is heavily skewed in City’s favour.
Arsenal hasn’t been able to notch up a win against the Cityzens in their last 12 league games, facing defeat in each of those matches.
However, given the circumstances and the notable absences in City’s squad, Arsenal might find a reason to be more hopeful about changing this statistic.
Guardiola, in his Friday press conference, stated, “John Stones is not ready to play. Maybe for the national team but not for us.” This was reported by the Manchester Evening News.
Stones has been on the sidelines since Manchester City’s defeat in the Community Shield in August. He only rejoined training at the start of the current week.
Despite missing the game against Arsenal, England’s manager Gareth Southgate has included him in the squad for the upcoming international matches.
Guardiola’s woes don’t end with Stones. He is also without the services of key players Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne.
Speaking about the challenges, Guardiola mentioned, “With Rodri, we are talking one of the best – maybe the best – holding midfielders in the world. If he is not [able to play], we always handle it. We’ll find a solution with our players.”
Arsenal, on the other hand, have their own injury concerns.
Key players Bukayo Saka and Thomas Partey are uncertain starters, while Gabriel Martinelli has not yet resumed training.
This pivotal match will see both teams dealing with significant absences, making the outcome even more unpredictable.