EPL

Ederson returns as City look to bounce back against Chelsea

By Sports Desk November 22, 2019

Manchester City will welcome back goalkeeper Ederson for the Premier League visit of Chelsea on Saturday.

The Brazil international suffered a thigh injury during City's 1-1 Champions League draw at Atalanta earlier this month, ruling him out of the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool where understudy Claudio Bravo deputised.

The reverse gave Jurgen Klopp's men a nine-point advantage over City at the Premier League summit and the reigning champions lie fourth, a point and a place behind their weekend opponents.

Manager Pep Guardiola can therefore be grateful Ederson's brief but keenly felt absence is at an end.

Asked whether his number one would be fit at a pre-match news conference, Guardiola replied: "Yep. He trained the last two or three days without pain."

The fallout from City's loss at Anfield extended to a confrontation between Raheem Sterling and Liverpool defender Joe Gomez while on international duty.

Manager Gareth Southgate elected to stand down Sterling for England's 7-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Montenegro before restoring him to face Kosovo, but Guardiola believes the episode is done and dusted for his star attacker.

"I spoke with him. He's fine," he said.

"He said Joe is an excellent guy and they have a good relationship.

"It sometimes happens."

Asked whether such a flashpoint mirrored the widely reported hostility between Barcelona and Real Madrid players on international duty during his time in Spain, Guardiola was somewhat sceptical.

"I don't think so. [There is] no comparison," he replied.

Guardiola must do without Bernardo Silva against Chelsea, after the Football Association imposed a one-match ban and an education course upon the Portugal playmaker for a racially insensitive tweet he sent to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

Throughout the affair, Guardiola has staunchly defended Silva's character as opposed to engaging with what offence might have been caused elsewhere, earning criticism in some quarters.

Nevertheless, he sounded a similar tone on Friday.

"In that situation the less important thing is the fact we are going to miss him," he said.

"He has been accused of something he is not, so if they want to pick up someone to show something he was the right person.

"He will be careful using the social media. If this can help to do a better society, okay. I'm pretty sure Bernardo accepts this punishment.

"He is not like he has been accused. They don't know him."

Despite such controversies and long-term injuries to the likes of Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte, Guardiola remained bullish over his team's prospects of mounting a credible title defence.

"A few weeks ago there was just two contenders and for the rest it was impossible, now it's four and maybe six in a few days," he added.

"We're in November, a long time to play and we try to focus on the next one."

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