Manchester City dealt injury blow with star defender Aymeric Laporte ruled out of trip to Chelsea with a hamstring problem as out-of-favour France centre back suffers fresh setback
- Six Manchester City players are already self-isolating after contracting Covid-19
- Aymeric Laporte was sidelined for four months last season with a knee problem
- Laporte also had Covid earlier this term and recently lost his place in the team
- Ruben Dias and John Stones have kept five straight Premier League clean sheets
Manchester City are missing Aymeric Laporte for their crucial clash against Chelsea as the central defender has a minor hamstring injury.
Pep Guardiola was already without six players who are self-isolating having contracted Covid-19, with Eric Garcia the latest to pick up the virus (although the Spaniard has been sidelined with a leg injury for the last three weeks and would have missed the trip to Stamford Bridge as a result).
Laporte’s absence is yet another setback for the Frenchman, who was out for more than four months last season with a knee injury and was laid low by Covid at the start of this campaign.
Aymeric Laporte has picked up a minor hamstring injury and will play no part against Chelsea
Pep Guardiola was already without six players due to Covid-19 for the trip to Stamford Bridge
The 26-year-old last played in the league in a frustrating 2-0 defeat to Tottenham on November 21 and a strong partnership has since formed between Ruben Dias and John Stones.
Indeed, the duo have kept five successive clean sheets since then and Laporte’s only first-team games in the last month have been a Champions League dead rubber against Marseille and a 4-1 Carabao Cup win over Arsenal, scoring the team’s final goal at the Emirates.
Dias and Stones start together again in west London, while Zack Steffen makes his Premier League debut with Ederson out after contracting the virus.
Oleksandr Zinchenko comes in for Nathan Ake, while Phil Foden makes a rare start in place of Ferran Torres.
Ruben Dias and John Stones have been an impregnable partnership in their last five games
Zack Steffen is making his Premier League debut in place of first-choice goalkeeper Ederson
This is City’s first game in eight days after their match against Everton at Goodison Park on December 28 was postponed due to five of the visitors’ players contracting the virus, including Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus.
Manchester City will most likely move up to fifth with a win against the Blues, putting them just four points behind leaders and Manchester United with a game in hand.
Chelsea meanwhile will go back into the top four with victory at Stamford Bridge after a poor run that has seen Frank Lampard’s pick up just four points from their last five games, including away defeats at Arsenal, Wolves and Everton.
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