Guardiola claims Stones ‘not ready’ for game as Arteta awaits Partey injury | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has 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 few minutes’, while that Mikel Arteta admitted he could be without Thomas Partey after the midfielder was injured in the game.

As Nathan Aké’s second-half strike at the Etihad Stadium on Friday put City into Monday’s fifth-round draw, Guardiola slammed Stones, who had to be substituted, when asked if the defender was suffering from a hamstring problem.

«I think so,» he said. «Today he wasn’t ready, I saw him in the first few minutes, maybe he was tired, I don’t know, but he wasn’t ready and that’s why when that happens, you get hurt.» It’s unclear if Guardiola was suggesting Stones wasn’t warming up properly otherwise, it seems surprising that the manager chose it.

Regarding Partey, who was also substituted, Arteta said: «He had a bit of discomfort and it was getting worse and worse. He was uncomfortable to carry on. Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow he will have an MRI and see what he has.

City’s elimination of Arsenal preceded the first of next month’s two league encounters between the champions and leaders. Guardiola admitted his surprise at Arteta’s man-marking approach but said it could help him prepare for the encounter at the Emirates.

«Now I know they can do it,» he said. «Maybe we change something [then]especially the players that I can select.

Arteta explained why Arsenal were eliminated. «We took risks in big matches this season, that’s why we beat a lot of big teams. Unfortunately today we didn’t and we didn’t defend the action with Aké in the surface where the left-back puts him in the corner with his right foot so it’s not much to do.

«It’s not just 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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