EPL

Stones still out but Zinchenko fit to face Bournemouth

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

John Stones will be missing again for Manchester City against Bournemouth but Oleksandr Zinchenko is fit to start on Sunday.

England defender Stones did not feature against Tottenham in the Premier League last week due to a thigh injury, with Nicolas Otamendi instead partnering Aymeric Laporte.

The same duo are set to start again for City this week, as Guardiola offered little update on Stones other than to confirm his continued absence.

"No, I don't know. He's not fit for this weekend," Guardiola told a news conference, before he was asked about next weekend and replied: "We'll see."

There was better news on Zinchenko's fitness, however, after the left-back looked to be struggling during the closing stages of the 2-2 draw with Spurs.

Guardiola confirmed the 22-year-old had merely been suffering from cramp and would be available at Bournemouth.

"He's fit. He has been training. It was cramp," the manager said.

"It was such a demanding game against Tottenham. We had incredibly tough games against Liverpool [in the Community Shield] and Tottenham and the people, at the end, were tired.

"If we were more clinical in both boxes, the game in the last 20 minutes might have been easy. By going to 2-2, it's always so demanding. Against top teams, the physicality is tough.

"We're not yet in the normal process of games every three days where the rhythm is there. It was cramp, but he's okay.

New signing Joao Cancelo "is ready with his understanding", according to Guardiola, but he added the full City squad will not be needed until the fixtures ramp up following the international break.

Cancelo would have been one option to replace Zinchenko had he missed out, but the City boss is not short of alternatives, with Benjamin Mendy also back in training.

"On the left, we have Oleks, we have Angelino, we have Mendy coming back now in training all week with us," Guardiola said.

"Normally, [Cancelo] would play right-back, but he can play left. Juventus played him left many times. He can play both sides and as a winger, too.

"He can play several positions, but normally we think about him playing right-back because Kyle [Walker] cannot play every week every three days. It's impossible."

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