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."

Related items

  • Man Utd condemn those involved in attack on Woodward's home Man Utd condemn those involved in attack on Woodward's home

    Manchester United will ban for life any supporters who were involved in an attack on the home of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on Tuesday.

    The Mirror reported between 20 and 30 fans threw flares at Woodward's house on the eve of United's EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City.

    In a statement provided to Omnisport, the Premier League club criticised the attack, saying there was "no excuse" for the "unwarranted" act.

    "Manchester United Football Club have tonight been made aware of the incident outside the home of one of our employees," the statement read.

    "We know that the football world will unite behind us as we work with Greater Manchester Police to identify the perpetrators of this unwarranted attack.

    "Anybody found guilty of a criminal offence, or found to be trespassing on this property, will be banned for life by the club.

    "Fans expressing opinion is one thing, criminal damage and intent to endanger life and property is another. There is simply no excuse for this."

    United fans had chanted about Woodward - who was understood not to be at home at the time of the incident - and the club's owners, the Glazers, during a 6-0 FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers on Sunday.

    Sitting fifth in the Premier League, United have been increasingly criticised amid a difficult run of form that has seen them win only three of their previous eight games in all competitions.

    It also comes as they reportedly continue to work on bringing in reinforcements in January, with Sporting CP star Bruno Fernandes a target.

  • Liverpool's Alisson tops the charts in Stats Perform Goalkeeper Index Liverpool's Alisson tops the charts in Stats Perform Goalkeeper Index

    Liverpool number one Alisson is the best performing goalkeeper in the Premier League according to a metric from Stats Perform.

    Looking at clean sheets, goals conceded and save percentages only provides a limited analysis of a keeper's performances, as the metrics can be biased by team and defensive strengths.

    The expected goals on target (xGOT) model moved things forward and provided a comparison to the performance of an 'average' keeper, but with each of them facing different shots it was difficult to compare the values.

    By taking goals conceded away from the xGOT, Vicente Guaita is the best-performing keeper, preventing 6.6 goals (an xGOT of 29.6 minus the 23 goals he has conceded, excluding own goals), while Alisson has a differential of just 0.3 (an xGOT of 6.3 minus the six goals conceded).

    The Stats Perform Goalkeeper Index, however, builds on the xGOT model, personalising the estimates to each keeper and simulating how they would perform over the exact same sample of shots.

    On top of the start and end location of shots, the index considers a keeper's historic ability to make saves based on factors including shot destination (left, middle or right of the goal) and the angle to the shot trajectory (straight at them, to the left or to the right).

    Premier League keepers have faced 2,108 shots this season and the Goalkeeper Index simulates how many goals every number one would have conceded against that set.

    When looked at on a game-by-game basis, as well as in comparison to the league average, the impact becomes clear.

    At the top of the Goalkeeper Index is Alisson, who is expected to prevent 0.58 more goals per game than the league average – putting him comfortably clear of Manchester City counterpart Ederson (0.27) in the rankings.

    Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris' back-up Paulo Gazzaniga (0.16), Manchester United's David de Gea (0.16) and Bernd Leno (0.13) of Arsenal round out the top five.

    At the other end of the scale for keepers to play in at least 10 games, Southampton keeper Angus Gunn is expected to concede 0.50 more goals per game than the league average.

    Alisson would therefore be expected to prevent 1.08 more goals per game than Gunn.

    The Brazil international has conceded one goal every 214 minutes in the Premier League this season. If he maintains his form, he could break Petr Cech's record for minutes per goal conceded by a keeper in the Premier League (242).

  • Guardiola vows he did not mean to offend Man City fans with crowd comments Guardiola vows he did not mean to offend Man City fans with crowd comments

    Pep Guardiola has accepted he made a "mistake" when questioning why Manchester City fans did not fill the Etihad Stadium for their last home game.

    City's treble-winning boss faced a rare backlash from his own club's supporters following Sunday's FA Cup tie against Fulham, having spoken of his surprise at the 39,223 attendance.

    The clash with Manchester United in Wednesday's EFL Cup semi-final second leg is expected to be much closer to the 55,000 capacity.

    Speaking about City fans after the 4-0 win over Fulham, Guardiola said that "hopefully they will support us more" in the United game.

    However, some responded by quickly pointing to a recent heavy load of fixtures, and the cost of attending every game, and their stance has prompted Guardiola to reflect on his comments.

    The former Barcelona head coach said he had not realised the match was televised live by the BBC, with the terrestrial coverage a likely factor in the below-average crowd figure.

    "Never was it my intention to offend them, they are part of us," he told a news conference on Tuesday when discussing the fans' reaction.

    "Since I arrived here from day one until the last day, what I want is to fight and play as well as possible to see the Etihad full every single day, every single day.

    "So it belongs to us to play well, to seduce them to come. The only reason why we do our job is not for the titles, it's to go to the Etihad Stadium and see it absolutely full and the people together, enjoying the games together."

    A number of City fans have stressed it is not the team's performance level, but instead the expense involved in buying tickets and getting to games, that means they may sometimes stay away.

    Guardiola stressed he understood their situation, saying: "It's not necessary to tell me because I was part of that when I was a little boy with mum and dad. I know exactly what happens."

    And he looked to explain his weekend remarks by pointing to how significant a game he considered the Fulham fixture - saying he felt the FA Cup held more appeal to City than European glory.

    "Since I've arrived here, I learned from English football how important the Premier League and the FA Cup are - more important to this club than the Champions League... much, much more," Guardiola said.

    "We knew it through the club and I experienced it.

    "It was my mistake: I thought it's Sunday, one o'clock, today it will be full. I didn't know it was on BBC One, not Sky."

    Guardiola still wants to see City's home full for every game.

    He said: "We tried to do our best to let them be proud for our team, and I will try it again to push them to be with us as much as possible.

    "If it's possible to be every game full, full, full, it would be better."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.