Manchester City could be without John Stones for six weeks after the defender was injured in the Premier League leader’s 2-0 victory at Leicester on Saturday.
John Stones pulled up during the first half with an apparent hamstring injury, leaving Pep Guardiola without both of his recent first-choice central defenders due to Nicolas Otamendi’s suspension.
“I think (Stones) might be out for six weeks with that type of injury,” Guardiola said. “We don’t have a lot of central defenders. But the spirit in the team and with all the players is good so we are going to find a solution.”
City coped against the 2016 champions, with Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne scoring either side of halftime to secure the 11th victory in 12 matches for the league’s last remaining unbeaten side. It extended City’s club-record run of consecutive wins in all competitions to 16 fixtures.
Vincent Kompany returned to City for the first time since the end of August in central defense. Kompany’s comeback looked like being short-lived when he tripped Jamie Vardy after only two minutes, but the captain escaped with a booking, rather than a red card.
Some of City’s approach play was a delight to watch throughout, with De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Leroy Sane all seamlessly interchangeable in an attack.
One such swift offensive down the left-hand side after 20 minutes resulted in Sane setting up Silva, who steered an effort toward the top corner of the net only for goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to tip the ball over the crossbar.
When Stones was forced off just before the half-hour, Eliaquim Mangala came on for his first league appearance in over two months.
It did not upset City too much, however, as it took the lead at the end of the first half. A lovely exchange of passes between De Bruyne and Sterling on the edge of the box saw the latter find Silva’s run in behind the Leicester defense and he rolled the ball across goal for Gabriel Jesus to tap it into an empty net.
If the timing of that goal hurt Leicester, there was worse to come at the beginning of the second half. Harry Maguire came close to an equalizing goal but his effort, after City goalkeeper Ederson had dropped a cross, struck a post. Fernandinho then put the wheels in motion for a devastating counterattack involving De Bruyne and Sane, who cut the ball back to the edge of the penalty area for his teammate to rifle a left-foot shot into the top corner of the net.
Guardiola’s side comfortably saw out the remainder of the match and would have added to its lead had it not been for some last-ditch defending from the 2016 champions, who lost for the first time since manager Claude Puel was hired last month.