John Stones’ outstanding play for Manchester City in recent games, according to manager Pep Guardiola, can be attributed to two personal considerations
Stones led a number of defensive teammates on the night in a commanding display against Chelsea, helping Manchester City secure a 0-1 victory and close the gap with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League to five points.
While in possession, Stones formed a back-three with Kyle Walker and Nathan Ake in the first half. At the break, Manuel Akanji replaced the 28-year-old and the team of Pep Guardiola switched to a more complicated formation.
Stones was flawless on the ball and as competent and well-timed when called upon to play defence, including a key last-second block on a Christian Pulisic shot in the first half. Pep Guardiola was eager to compliment the England international’s performance during his post-game press conference at Stamford Bridge, where Manchester City had just earned one of their most critical three points of the season.
Given that Ruben Dias is still recovering from a muscular ailment acquired in the last stages of the World Cup and that Aymeric Laporte is reportedly only just getting back to full fitness, John Stones has a great chance to further establish his dominance in the central defender position for City.
Pep Guardiola is known for rotating one of the two options in centre defence, but given John Stones’ current form and upward trajectory, his spot in the starting eleven may stay a given for a few more games to come.
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