Joao Cancelo

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With Laporte out, what now for Man City?

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Aymeric Laporte has had “successful” knee surgery, but Manchester City will be without their best center back for at least the next few months, as a January return is optimistic.

What now for Pep Guardiola and his defense?

John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are the only two center backs they have in their squad, while Fernandinho has revealed he has been training as a center back in recent weeks.

After Vincent Kompany moved on this summer, everybody thought City would splash the cash to sign a new center back. They went after Harry Maguire but couldn’t match the fee Man United wanted to pay, and now here we are.

Losing Laporte, who was superb for City last season, was the last thing Guardiola would have wanted.

It is no exaggeration to say this injury, depending on how serious it is, has swung the pendulum in Liverpool’s favor when it comes to the Premier League title race.

What options do Man City have to plug the gap left by Laporte?

Stones, who is returning from injury himself, and Otamendi are the obvious choices, but the latter has struggled in the early weeks of the season after being left out for most of last season. And Stones’ issues from a pure defensive standpoint continue.

Another option is to play Kyle Walker at center back and have Joao Cancelo at right back, while playing Fernandinho as a center back is also a very decent option, as youngster Eric Garcia is still probably a little too raw.

Guardiola isn’t against playing a central midfielder at center back. He did it with Javier Mascherano at Barcelona and Fernandinho’s spot as a holding midfielder has now been taken up by Rodri so the Brazilian veteran may have a big role to play.

Simply put, it was a big mistake by Man City to not bring in a new center back over the summer. Relying on three center backs for the entire season, which will likely consist of over 60 games, was a huge gamble.

Despite all of their attacking options, Laporte’s injury is a massive blow for Man City’s defense and their title push.

Juventus Champions League squad omits Mandzukic, Can

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Juventus released its 22-man squad for the upcoming Champions League group stages, and two names were surprising omissions.

Mario Mandzukic and Emre Can were both left off the squad and will be unable to participate in Champions League matches throughout the group stage. Juventus acquired loads of talent this summer, especially in midfield, and failed to secure adequate departures to balance the squad.

The 33-year-old Mandzukic has been with the club since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2015, and has made 162 appearances for the Italian side, by far the most of any club in his career. His surprising omission comes at the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, with no other outright strikers in the group. Higuain returned to Juventus this summer after loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea last season, costing Mandzukic his place in the squad.

Still just 25 years old, Emre Can was pushed out of his place in the Juventus midfield by the free transfer signings of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot this summer, with both included in the Champions League squad. Rabiot is slowly being integrated into the Juve squad, while Ramsey is currently shelved while recovering from a hamstring injury suffered back in the spring with Arsenal. Can also signed with Juve on a free the previous summer, and he was a regular starter for the side last season when not injured.

Can, however, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, a possible reason for leaving him off the Champions League roster. The German international has played just 30 minutes of Juve’s first two Serie A matches of the season, coming on as a substitute for the final half-hour of the crazy 4-3 win over Napoli last weekend. Fellow oft-injured midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira made the cut over Can, however, signaling a reckoning for the German.

Giorgio Chiellini was also left off the roster, although that was expected after the veteran defender suffered a torn ACL that will at the very least keep him out until the new year, and could potentially end the 35-year-old’s season. Young defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral both make the list in Chiellini’s absence.

With Mattia Perin injured until at least mid-November, Wojciech Szczesny and Gianluigi Buffon are the main goalkeepers while Carlo Pinsoglio serves as the emergency netminder.

This summer, Juventus brought in a wealth of talent, including Ramsey, Rabiot, Higuain, de Ligt, Demiral, Cristian Romero, Danilo, and Luca Pellegrini. They sold Moise Kean to Everton and Joao Cancelo to Manchester City, but the midfield especially remains far too clogged.

Watch Live: Man City v. Spurs

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The marquee match of the week, and maybe the Premier League’s opening month, sees Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Both teams were dominant in Opening Day wins, though Spurs had to work a bit longer to find their finish.

Man City’s available subs for this match are filthy, with Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, David Silva, and Fernandinho all options for Pep Guardiola (as well as Phil Foden and Claudio Bravo).

Giovani Lo Celso is on the bench for Spurs.