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Premier League | Gameweek 19
Jan 5, 2023 at 8pm UK
Stamford Bridge
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Man City

Kovacic (89'), Koulibaly (90+4')
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Mahrez (63')

Manchester City's Ruben Dias ruled out, Aymeric Laporte doubtful for Chelsea clash

Man City's Dias ruled out, Laporte doubtful for Chelsea clash
© Reuters
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola confirms that Ruben Dias will miss Thursday's Premier League clash against Chelsea due to injury, while Aymeric Laporte is a doubt.

Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Ruben Dias will miss Manchester City's trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Thursday.

After representing Portugal at the 2022 World Cup, the 25-year-old returned to the Citizens with a hamstring injury and he is yet to feature for Guardiola's side since the restart.

City have conceded in all three matches since club football resumed after the World Cup, conceding twice in a 3-2 EFL Cup win over Liverpool, before letting in a goal each in a 3-1 win over Leeds United and then a 1-1 draw with Everton last weekend.

Dias played the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 EFL Cup victory over Chelsea in November, but the former Benfica man will have to watch on from the sidelines on Thursday.

Fellow defender Aymeric Laporte is also a fitness concern for the Citizens, with Guardiola confirming that the Spaniard will be assessed in training before a decision is made on his availability.

Ruben Dias in action for Manchester City on August 27, 2022© Reuters

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Guardiola said: "Ruben is out. Aymer [Laporte], we will see today at the training session."

Laporte featured in the EFL Cup win over Liverpool but was an unused substitute against Leeds before missing out entirely against Everton.

John Stones, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake are three centre-back options at Guardiola's disposal for Thursday, with the latter – formerly of Chelsea – also capable of operating at left-back.

One defender who has impressed in recent weeks in 18-year-old right-back Rico Lewis, who has started in each of City's last three games.

The academy graduate, who is reportedly in line for a new contract at the Etihad, has been nominated for the club's Player of the Month award for December, and Guardiola has heaped praise on the youngster since stepping up to the first team.

"About the contract I'm not the person, it's a decision of the club," said the Spaniard. "What he's done is beyond my expectations. Big games, everything is well done. He has the ability to read the situation every time in one fraction of a second.

Manchester City's Rico Lewis reacts after being substituted on November 2, 2022© Reuters

"He never reacts after always anticipates. He's such an intelligent player. We are delighted the academy produce another quality player and we hope he stays for a long, long time."

Lewis has made a total of nine senior appearances for City so far this season and will be battling with Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo to keep his place at right-back on Thursday.

City currently sit second in the Premier League table and eight points behind leaders Arsenal, whom Guardiola believes could surpass the 100-point mark if they continue their strong run of form.

"The way you have to reduce the gap is play good and win games," Guardiola added. "They have an average they're going to do 100 points, Arsenal, the way they've done so far. If they continue that way, we will not catch them. So you have to be almost perfect, I would say.

"Yesterday they were excellent against Newcastle again. We will see what happens."

City will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing draw at home to Everton last time out with a win away against Chelsea, who currently languish in 10th place after winning only one of their last seven top-flight fixtures.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on December 31, 2022
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