Aymeric Laporte is expected to be outside for a while after having successful surgery on a wounded knee and it renders boss Pep Guardiola because he plans Manchester City’s title defence.
His lateral and the damaged cartilage meniscus against Brighton last weekend and joins John Stones, with a leg problem, at the treatment area.
This leaves the champions with just 1 fit senior central guardian in Nicolas Otamendi.
Following Vincent Kompany left at the summertime and the failure to property City can’t sign another centre-half until the January transfer window, by which time they’ll have played with another 17 Premier League games.
So how much will City miss him?
Premier League managers go for their players returning hurt into the break with trepidation, however in the case of Laporte which has happened and just days after the participant’s long-overdue call-up had been hailed by Guardiola to the France team.
Guardiola expressed only last week how happy and thankful he had been to Didier Deschamps for choosing to pick the participant he sees as”the most effective left-sided central refuge in Europe”.
Laporte has become arguably Manchester City’s first name on the team sheet, having starting 49 matches in all competitions last season – than some of the other outfield players.
City surrendered only 23 Premier League intentions and also his calmness on the ball and range of passing sees him take the point for City strikes, as he prospered last word. So a hole that is big is left by his absence.
This is the case because he is also a danger in the opposition box, scoring five goals past term like one against Brighton on the afternoon since they wrapped up the title.
Which are City’s choices?
Otamendi is the central refuge so he appears certain to start when the Premier League resumes after the international break and City traveling to newly-promoted Norwich in nine days’ time.
Stones isn’t with the England squad as he recovers from the injury that’s kept him out of City’s last few games, but he’s back in training and Guardiola supported a week, that barring any set-backs, he’ll be fit for the trip to Carrow Road.
But if he ever suffer.
Although it has been a strategy for him to play matches at centre-half, it’s doubtful Guardiola was expecting to rely upon a defensive midfielder out rotation – and so early in this season.
Fernandinho played two games with mixed success last season out of the position, firstly marshalling the City defence in a 3-1 win against Arsenal in the Premier League. But then 16 days later he struggled in Schalke into committing a penalty, that not only earned him a yellow card but also a suspension to the second 35, if he had been panicked.
Aside from Fernandinho, options become very limited. Guardiola was impressed by young defender Eric Garcia’s creation and in pre-season he had been assured increased game-time during this effort.
But it might be a step up for its 18-year-old, whose only first-team appearances to date have come from the Carabao Cup, involving the two legs of the semi-final win over Burton and the quarter-final against Leicester of past season.
But then there is Kyle Walker. Guardiola confirmed after Laporte’s injury that”if a day I have to place Kyle Walker as a central defender, he is going to play with there” – and he also backed the player to play centre-back for England at last year’s World Cup.
But however, was on the right of a back-three and it might be a huge danger to maneuver him to centre-back in a two, given that he is indeed untested with one other, which Guardiola currently favours.