Guardiola claims Stones ‘not ready’ for game as Arteta waits on Partey injury

Pep Guardiola suggested the muscle problem suffered by John Stones in Manchester City’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Arsenal may have been caused by him not being ready in the “first minutes”, while Mikel Arteta has admitted he could be without Thomas Partey after the midfielder was injured in the match.

While Nathan Aké’s second-half strike at the Etihad Stadium on Friday put City into Monday’s fifth-round draw, Guardiola was critical of Stones, who had to be replaced, when asked if the defender suffered a hamstring problem.

“I think so,” he said. “Today he was not ready, I saw it in the first minutes, maybe he was tired, I don’t know, but he was not ready and that’s why when this happens you get injured.” Whether Guardiola was suggesting Stones did not warm up properly is unclear if not then it seems a surprise the manager selected him.

Regarding Partey, who was also substituted, Arteta said: “He had some discomfort and it was getting worse and worse. He was uncomfortable to continue. Tomorrow or the day after he will have an MRI scan and see what he has.”

City’s elimination of Arsenal came ahead of the next month’s first of two league meetings between the champions and the leaders. Guardiola admitted surprise at Arteta’s man-marking approach but said this may help him prepare for the meeting at the Emirates.

“Now I know they can do it,” he said. “Maybe we change something [then], especially the players I may select.”

Arteta explained why Arsenal were knocked out. “We have taken the chances in the big matches this season, that’s why we have beaten a lot of the big teams. Unfortunately today we didn’t and we didn’t defend the action with Aké in the box where the left-back puts it in the corner with his right foot so it’s not much you can do.

“It’s not only that, but it’s the composure, especially in the second half when we had them and the momentum and we created three or four good openings there and we have to be more ruthless to put those balls in the net.”


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