Leeds vs Derby: Forget Spygate – the Rams need to watch out for Arsenal wonderkid Eddie Nketiah at Elland Road

20 Sep

One of the great modern rivalries takes centre stage this weekend, live on talkSPORT 2, giving one of England’s brightest prospects a chance to shine.

Leeds and Derby treated us to some of the most dramatic moments of the domestic campaign last season. Where do we begin?

First, there was Spygate. Then the PowerPoint presentation. ‘Stop Crying Frank Lampard’ came shortly afterwards, before Derby got their revenge with a thrilling play-off semi-final comeback at Elland Road.

And while the hostility between both sides is likely to dominate the build-up to the clash, Derby must look out for the Whites’ rising star: Eddie Nketiah.

The 20-year-old Arsenal loanee hasn’t started a Championship game yet, but he’s already something of a Leeds hero.

Nketiah is already making a difference at Leeds
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Nketiah’s impact from the bench has been immense, earning Marcelo Bielsa’s men crucial points in their early climb to the top of the Championship.

It’s only a matter of time before the England Under-21 international is unleashed from the start, and his first start could come in the highly-anticipated ‘Spygate derby’.

Here, we take a look at his rise to prominence.


Youth career

Nketiah was scouted by Chelsea at the age of nine while playing in a Sunday League match in south-east London.

However, after seven years in the club’s academy, Nketiah was released by the Blues and quickly snapped up by Arsenal.

It wasn’t long before the striker began to showcase his talent, netting 15 goals in 16 appearances for the Under-18s during the 2016/17 season, while also scoring 12 goals in 26 games for the Under-23s.

Arsene Wenger decided to call Nketiah up to the senior squad, where he made several cameos in cup competitions during the 2017/18 season, including a match-saving display against Norwich in the League Cup.

His first Premier League goal came on the final day of last season against Burnley, and he scored four pre-season goals for Arsenal before the current campaign began.

Gunners boss Unai Emery was keen to keep him at the Emirates, but Nketiah decided to join Leeds on loan to better his chances of starting for Arsenal in the future.

Nketiah has already starred for the Gunners first team
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International career

Nketiah continues to work his way through the various layers of England’s youth system.

The 20-year-old has scored at every level, from Under-18s upwards, and looks set to emerge as the first-choice striker for the Under-21s to fill the void left by Tammy Abraham, Dominic Solanke, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Much is expected of Nketiah on the international stage.

Nketaih scored for the Young Lions during the international break
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What Marcelo Bielsa says about him

“Eddie has different characteristics, and in a match like that he is a good option.

“Some players are involved (in play) a lot before creating chances. Nketiah is more involved at the end of the action, but he has good characteristics to combine with his team-mates to give us these options.

“He is a striker who can score goals. For me, he is a complete player.”

Bielsa is easing Nketiah into action to raise his fitness levels
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Style of play

Nketiah has often been compared to another Gunners man from south-east London: Ian Wright. Last month, he described the Arsenal legend as his ‘mentor’.

There are certainly similarities in their playing styles, with Nketiah’s main attribute his blistering pace and incredible finishing ability.

While a natural centre-forward, Nketiah’s spectacular speed also allows him to operate effectively on the wing if necessary.

“I’m a striker, I’m brave,” Nketiah has said previously. “I like to put myself in the places where the chances are going to fall.”


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  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
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  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham’s stunning form could be bad news for Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford

20 Sep

With England’s Euro 2020 campaign on the horizon, Tammy Abraham’s stunning start to the Premier League campaign simply cannot be ignored by Gareth Southgate.

The 21-year-old striker, who recently became the youngest Chelsea player to score a Premier League hat-trick, is the joint-top scorer in the top-flight with seven goals in his opening five games.

Tammy Abraham is in the form of his life for Chelsea
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It’s a remarkable start to life at the top level, following various loan spells, and Abraham is already knocking on Southgate’s door for an England call-up.

Despite featuring numerous times for England’s various youth teams, and playing in two Three Lions friendlies, Abraham refuses to rule out switching allegiance to Nigeria if he continues to be overlooked.

“I have heard the talk [about being called up by Nigeria],” Abraham said on Saturday.

“When the time comes, the time comes.

“I have not really focused on that yet. I’m focusing on Chelsea and hopefully scoring goals and getting victories.

“We never know. You can never say never … whatever comes first really.”

Abraham missed out on the most recent England squad, with Southgate selecting Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Callum Wilson as his preferred strikers.

However, if Abraham’s form continues, he could be on course to overtake both Wilson and Rashford as second choice ahead of the Euros next year.

Within five games of his Premier League career, the Blues striker finds himself just three goals away from equalling Rashford’s highest ever tally for a season, and halfway towards Wilson’s personal best.

Marcus Rashford’s England place is under threat
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His hat-trick against Wolves on Saturday showed he is capable of scoring every type of goal, which Les Ferdinand highlights as one of Rashford’s weaknesses.

He told talkSPORT: “People talk about natural goalscorers. There’s a desire to get in the box and score goals.

“A lot of modern strikers don’t score scrappy, six-yard goals in the box. They all want to come in from the wing and bend it in the corner.

“I see Marcus as one of those types of strikers. He wants it to be a nice finish, I don’t see him scoring really scrappy goals.

“I’m not sure he’s ever worked at being a pure No.9.”

Meanwhile, the England boss also doubts whether Rashford operates best in a centre-forward role.

“For a long time we have almost wanted Marcus to be that option as a No .9,” said Southgate.

“But I’m still not certain that is where he is happiest and where he does his best work.

“A lot of his development at United was as a ‘wide raider’ and I think he isn’t as strong as Harry Kane with his back to goal holding play up.

“If he plays as a No. 9, he will play it differently to Harry, but a lot of his best work is on the left coming in off the line.”

There can be no doubts, however, about Abraham’s strengths as a No.9, and Southgate will know all about them from his time coaching the striker with the England Under-21s.

Gareth Southgate has put a lot of faith in Marcus Rashford with England
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Rashford, therefore, faces an uncertain future for his country.

With Abraham threatening to overtake him as second-choice striker, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho are quickly establishing themselves as best pairing either side of Harry Kane.

England’s next round of Euro qualifiers see them travel to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria for two of the biggest tests they’ll face ahead of the tournament next summer.

Should Southgate pick Abraham, the two games could present a fascinating insight into the pecking order for the European Championship.

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  • Napoli vs Liverpool (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Olympiakos vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • PSG vs Real Madrid (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Sergio Aguero can break Wayne Rooney and Jose Antonio Reyes record to make best ever scoring start to a Premier League season against Watford

20 Sep

Sergio Aguero can set a new record for the longest goalscoring streak at the start of a Premier League season when Manchester City face Watford on Saturday.

The Argentine netted for the fifth consecutive game during the 3-2 defeat at Norwich on the weekend, taking his tally to seven for the season.

Aguero can break another record this weekend
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He now shares the record for the best ever goalscoring start to a top-flight campaign with Wayne Rooney and the late Jose Antonio Reyes.

Rooney went on to have the most prolific season of his career after scoring in Manchester United’s opening five games of the 2011/12 season.

Meanwhile, Reyes made an incredibly fast start to the 2004/05 campaign for Arsenal, netting in all of the first five games.

However, no player in Premier League history has ever scored in each of the opening six games of a season.

Aguero will be taking aim at that record at the Etihad on Sunday, when the struggling Hornets visit the champions.

Watford currently sit rock-bottom of the league following a dreadful start the the campaign, and their goal difference is worse than any other top-flight side.

Aguero looks set for another superb campaign
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The 31-year-old striker will take confidence from his sensational record against the visitors.

In seven appearances against Watford, Aguero has a staggering ten goals, including two hat-tricks.

There are usually goals when these two sides meet, with their last encounter ending in a humiliating 6-0 defeat for Watford in the most recent FA Cup final at Wembley.

Can Aguero, City’s all-time leading goalscorer, add another record to his collection this weekend?

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Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Piers Morgan reveals Cristiano Ronaldo crying in front of him was one of his most ‘surprising’ experiences

19 Sep

Piers Morgan reveals he experienced one of the most ‘surprising’ and ‘moving’ moments of his career when Cristiano Ronaldo started crying in front of him.

The ITV host sat down with the Juventus star for an eye-opening interview, which aired on Tuesday night.

During the in-depth chat, Ronaldo was shown a video of his father, Jose Dinis Aveiro, talking of the pride he felt for his son.

Ronaldo was just 20 when his father died of liver failure in 2004 at the age of 52 after years battling alcoholism.

And the Portugal superstar burst into tears upon watching the clip, explaining his sadness that his father never saw what he went on to achieve.

Speaking about that tender moment with Ronaldo, Piers told talkSPORT: “It was genuinely one of the most surprising and moving things I’ve ever experienced.

“Ronaldo’s a very controlled guy. I didn’t expect him to react like that, I assumed he’d seen this clip before. It was a Norwegian TV clip of his father talking about him the year before he died.

“Ronaldo has 183million followers on instagram, this guy is a supersonic, stratospheric superstar, and to see him lose his cool and be emotional in such a raw way was very powerful.”

Piers delved into Ronaldo’s personality during a detailed interview
ITV

Piers was also keen to debunk some common myths about Ronaldo, such as his supposed arrogance and vanity.

The pair grew close after Ronaldo reached out to Piers to talk about his crime documentaries, ultimately leading to the exclusive interview.

And Piers suggests, in a long list of influential people, the Manchester United and Real Madrid legend ranks among the most remarkable people he has ever met.

Ronaldo is considered by some to be the greatest player of all time
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“For me, Ronaldo is a personal hero and it’s always difficult interviewing heroes,” he added.

“Sometimes they’re a bit disappointing; they’re not what you hoped they are.

“What I loved about Ronaldo was, I really felt genuinely inspired to be in his company.

“He’s very smart, very funny, very warm, and not really the kind of person that many people think he is.

“He’s not this cocky bragger that we all see on the pitch.

“In real life, he’s very humble, very respectful, and very likeable. He was everything I hoped he’d be and more.”

Listen to the full interview with Piers Morgan above.

Sol Campbell EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal need to fix their midfield and sign a player like James Milner or Ray Parlour

19 Sep

Arsenal legend Sol Campbell believes Unai Emery’s true problem lies in midfield, despite heavy criticism of the Gunners defence.

The club are almost unrecognisable from the days of Campbell and Kolo Toure, one of the most solid partnership’s Gunners fans will ever witness.

Arsenal’s current defensive frailties were exposed during their 2-2 draw at Watford on Sunday, as Emery’s men threw away a two-goal lead.

The Gunners were the architects of their own downfall, with Sokratis gifting the ball to the Hornets inside his own box before David Luiz’s careless challenge to concede a penalty.

Sokratis has admitted he was to blame for the 2-2 draw with Watford
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But the likes of Granit Xhaka haven’t covered themselves in glory either so far this season, and Campbell argues that the defence is exposed by a lack of protection.

“For me, it’s the controlling of the game,” he told talkSPORT. “The middle of the park is where they’re lacking.

“The steeliness and the balance just isn’t there. It’s the middle of the park, you win or lose a lot of games there.

“You can have a strong back or a strong front, but if you haven’t got a middle that’s really solid, then you have forwards dropping too deep because they’re not getting fed and defenders doing too much.

Luiz was at fault for Watford’s equaliser against Arsenal on Sunday
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“You get less attacks against you [with a stronger midfield], because you control the game more and you have the ball more.

“You win second balls and you don’t give silly fouls away. Yes, you’ve got to sort out the back. But in the middle of the park, they’ve got to get someone solid.

“They’ve got to realise the ingredients they need to win in the Premier League. At the moment, the ingredients aren’t right.”

Campbell certainly benefited from a sturdy midfield in front of him during his successful period at Highbury, where he became an ‘Invincible’ alongside talkSPORT legend Ray Parlour.

Granit Xhaka has come in for plenty of criticism during his Arsenal career
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And the former England defender suggests someone like Parlour, or James Milner, represents exactly what the Gunners are currently missing.

“You look at someone like Milner, the attitude. The Ray Parlour attitude. That’s the kind of attitude that Arsenal need.

“The love of football and desire to keep going, I think they’re lacking that. I look at Milner and think we need a little bit of that at Arsenal.”

While deeper questions of character continue to surround Arsenal, there are inescapable tactical problems too.

Time after time, the Gunners shoot themselves in the foot with their unrelenting insistence on playing out from the back.

And the former Macclesfield boss suggests Arsenal have become too predictable and easy to catch out.

“For me, personally, I’d mix it up,” Campbell added. “Some long, some short, I’d do both.

“If you’re always going to start playing short, unless you’ve got absolutely word-class guys and you’re well drilled, there’s a million permutations that can happen.

Campbell had protection in front of him at Arsenal
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“The teams you’re playing against have been working on the fact that you’re going to play short all week. So they know where you’re going to be.

“All of a sudden, if you play long, they start moving backwards, and then you play short. You want your players to feel the moment.

“I don’t want robots. I want guys who feel the game and say, ‘You know what, it’s too tight, let’s go long’ or, ‘There’s a bit more space, let’s play short’.

“I want guys who think outside the box, that’s what you need. Guys outside the box say, ‘You haven’t got me, because I’m going to do something else’.

“I’d give my players the freedom to go long and short.”


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Champions League results: Man City breeze past Shakhtar, Real Madrid blown away by PSG, Atletico snatch late draw against Juventus

18 Sep

Man City began their latest bid to claim a first ever Champions League title with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

The two sides know each other well, they’ve been drawn in the group stage together for three consecutive years, but the Ukrainians had no answer for City’s brilliance.

Man City made light work of their trip to Ukraine
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Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez combined for the opener, with the Algerian blasting home when the midfielder’s shot cannoned off the post and into his path.

Then Mahrez returned the favour by setting up Gundogan for City’s second just before half-time.

Pep Guardiola was forced to play Fernandinho at centre-back due to an injury crisis, but his fringe players all stepped up to the plate to demonstrate City’s incredible depth.

Gabriel Jesus, forced to play second-fiddle to Sergio Aguero so far this season, rounded things off to help the Premier League champions negotiate what could’ve been a tricky fixture with total ease.

Elsewhere, another team with serious injury problems pulled off a remarkable result as Paris Saint-Germain sealed a dominant 2-0 victory over Real Madrid.

Former Madrid star Angel di Maria struck twice before half-time to ensure Thomas Tuchel’s men did not miss any of their regular front three: Neymar, Edinson Cavani or Kylian Mbappe.

Things could’ve been different if Gareth Bale’s sensational goal wasn’t ruled out by VAR, with the ball brusing his hand in the build up.

Di Maria haunted his former club
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But, in truth, Madrid didn’t deserve anything from the game, and Thomas Meunier ensured the scoreline accurately reflected the game by rounding off a stunning team move in injury time.

There was late drama in the other heavyweight clash of the evening as Atletico came from two goals down to snatch a late draw against Juventus.

Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi gave the visitors a seemingly unassailable lead before Stefan Savic and Hector Herrera mounted a late comeback.

Earlier in the day, Spurs suffered the same fate as Juventus by squandering a two-goal lead to Olympiakos.

Herrera helped save the day for Atletico
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Here are all the results from a dramatic night of Champions League action…

Club Brugge 0-0 Galatasaray

PSG 3-0 Real Madrid

Olympiakos 2-2 Tottenham

Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade

Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 Atalanta

Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Man City

Atletico madrid 2-2 Juventus

Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Lokomotiv Moscow

VAR denies Real Madrid star Gareth Bale spectacular goal against Paris Saint-Germain

18 Sep

Gareth Bale had a sensational Champions League goal taken away from him by VAR during Real Madrid’s clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

With Los Blancos trailing 2-0, the Welshman thought he had offered the visitors a route back into the game when he juggled the ball and lobbed Keylor Navas from the edge of the box.

The ball brushed Bale’s arm before he lobbed Navas
BT Sport

However, replays showed the ball brushed his hand before he pulled the trigger, giving referee Anthony Taylor no choice but to chalk the goal off.

Under current handball regulations, any contact between the ball and an attacker’s hand in the moments leading up to a goal will see the strike ruled out.

The rule has caused controversy, and Bale’s disallowed strike represents another argument against it.

There was no intention from the winger and the use of his hand had no bearing on the goal, but with the laws as they are, fans were robbed of a moment of brilliance.

Gary Lineker, working as a pundit for BT Sport, said at half-time: “I wish they went back to the old way, where they say whether it’s intentional or not. This is robbing us of goals.”

Madrid found themselves two goals down to the French champions after a double from their former star Angel di Maria.

Thibaut Courtois will no doubt feel he could’ve done better with the first, which flashed past the goalkeeper at his near post, but there was nothing he could do about the second.

Mason Mount injury update: Chelsea hopeful midfielder could face Liverpool after scan reveals no ligament damage

18 Sep

Chelsea have been handed a major boost ahead of their Premier League clash with Liverpool after a scan of Mason Mount’s ankle revealed no ligament damage.

The England international midfielder suffered a nasty blow during the 1-0 defeat to Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday night, sparking fears of a lengthy lay-off.

Mount’s injury looked potentially serious
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Francis Conquelin’s heavy challenge ended Mount’s debut in Europe after just 16 minutes, but reports suggest the injury is not as bad as first feared.

According to The Sun, the 20-year-old underwent a scan on Wednesday morning, which revealed he only suffered a sprained ankle.

Mount’s absence against Valencia showed his importance to the Blues, who lacked a creative spark without him.

Former Arsenal midfielder Coquelin was booked for his challenge on Mount
BT Sport

The Blues reportedly maintain hopes that he will be fit for the visit of Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which seemed very unlikely when he limped off on Tuesday night.

It is understood Mount will undergo another scan in the coming days once the swelling on his ankle has gone down.

He has already netted three times in the Premier League this season, with all-but of Chelsea’s 11 goals coming from either him or Tammy Abraham.

Man City confirmed team news: Pep Guardiola names Fernandinho at centre-back against Shakhtar Donetsk amid defensive crisis

18 Sep

Pep Guardiola has been forced to play Fernandinho at centre-back for Manchester City’s Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine – live on talkSPORT.

The Premier League champions have just one fit senior centre-back after England international John Stones suffered a thigh injury in training.

Pep Guardiola is short of options at the back
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Stones joins Aymeric Laporte, who is out until the new year, on the sidelines.

And after Vincent Kompany’s departure in the summer, City are now short in that position which means Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho has been pressed into action as an emergency centre-back.

Nonetheless, it’s still Man City, so there’s still a plethora of quality on the pitch.

Gabriel Jesus starts up front instead of Sergio Aguero, while Riyad Mahrez comes in for Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne returns to the starting XI.

Confirmed Man City XI

Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho (C), Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus

Subs: Bravo, Aguero, Bernardo, Silva, Mendy, Cancelo, E Garcia

Man City confirmed team news: Pep Guardiola names Fernandinho at centre-back against Shakhtar Donetsk amid defensive crisis

18 Sep

Pep Guardiola has been forced to play Fernandinho at centre-back for Manchester City’s Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine – live on talkSPORT.

The Premier League champions have just one fit senior centre-back after England international John Stones suffered a thigh injury in training.

Pep Guardiola is short of options at the back
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Stones joins Aymeric Laporte, who is out until the new year, on the sidelines.

And after Vincent Kompany’s departure in the summer, City are now short in that position which means Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho has been pressed into action as an emergency centre-back.

Nonetheless, it’s still Man City, so there’s still a plethora of quality on the pitch.

Gabriel Jesus starts up front instead of Sergio Aguero, while Riyad Mahrez comes in for Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne returns to the starting XI.

Confirmed Man City XI

Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho (C), Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus

Subs: Bravo, Aguero, Bernardo, Silva, Mendy, Cancelo, E Garcia