Manchester City confirm they will be without Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte against Crystal Palace on Sunday evening as Pep Guardiola says the pair are “not fit” to face the Eagles.
John Stones and Ruben Dias have impressed at the back of late and should partner one another at the Etihad Stadium. Guardiola revealed that Eric Garcia is available for selection, so he might replace Taylor Harwood-Bellis on the bench.
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Guardiola said on Friday: “Today the players are off. Tomorrow we train. I would love to update you. I think Eric Garcia will be back. The guys from the Academy will be back. Aymeric and Nathan are not fit, Sergio also. The rest are OK.”
Ake has been sidelined with a muscle injury since the turn of the year, missing City’s 3-1 win over Chelsea (January 3), FA Cup win over Birmingham City (January 10) and 1-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion (January 13). The 25-year-old only featured in six of the Sky Blues’ 16 games so he would only make the bench if fit.
Laporte is out with a thigh injury and hasn’t featured in the league since November. The 26-year-old fell down the pecking order following Stones’ resurgence, so he wouldn’t be starting either. Laporte has made only four league appearances this season but it remains to be seen when he’ll make his fifth.
With City boasting three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, Guardiola can trust Stones and Dias to keep Palace quiet.