Benjamin Mendy

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Man City’s Mendy undergoes knee surgery

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Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy went to Barcelona for international break, but it’s hardly a vacation.

Mendy, 24, withdrew from France duty and instead flew to Spain where he’s undergone knee surgery and will miss more time for City.

No timetable was given for his recovery.

[ MORE: England-USMNT preview ]

He missed around three weeks earlier this season with a foot injury, and more than six months with an ACL tear last year.

Fabian Delph has played left back for City during Mendy’s extended absences, and the club has used Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Mendy played 40 minutes for France in its World Cup triumph and has nine caps.

Premier League leaders through eight matches

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The sample size remains relatively small, but the Premier League season is closing in on its quarter-point and we’re able to get a decent perspective on whose hot starts are becoming solid seasons.

The international break is a good time to analyze the early season numbers, so let’s run through WhoScored.com and a number of other sites to see who’s shining in England (and Wales, though we don’t expect to see a lot of Bluebirds).

[ MORE: Hazard would play for Mourinho again ]

Let’s start with team stuff. Obviously, Man City, Chelsea, and Liverpool all boast league-best 6W-2D records, while Newcastle and Cardiff are league-worst 2D-6L.

City has scored the most goals (21), while its tied with Liverpool for fewest allowed in league play (3). Huddersfield Town and Cardiff (4) have scored the fewest, and Fulham has allowed the most (21).

City also has the most possession (65.3 percent), shots per game (21.8), and pass accuracy (89.9 percent). Worst possessors? Newcastle. Worst passers? Cardiff. Fewest shots? Newcastle.

Now, the fun stuff. Let’s praise individuals in a sport with 22 players on the field most of the time.

It will come as no surprise that this season is all about Eden.

Goals: Eden Hazard, Chelsea (7)

Assists: Six players have four, with Benjamin Mendy of Man City doing it in the fewest amount of minutes (450).

Man of the Match awards: Hazard (5)

Key passes per game: David Silva, Man City (3.7)

Dribbles per game: Hazard (2.8)

Times fouled per game: James Maddison, Leicester City (3)

Average passes per game: Jorginho, Chelsea (106.6)

Crosses per game: Kieran Trippier, Spurs (2.6)

Tackles per game: Idrissa Gueye, Everton (5.3)

Interceptions per game: Etienne Capoue, Watford (3.4)

Clearances per game: Steve Cook, Bournemouth (7.9)

Blocks per game: James Tarkowski, Burnley (2)

Yellow cards: Jose Holebas, Watford (5)

Red cards: Wes Morgan, Leicester City (2)

Man City issue injury update on De Bruyne, Mendy; Liverpool on Keita

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Understandably Pep Guardiola kept his cards close to his chest ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Liverpool on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), with the Spanish coach asked for a fitness update on two key players.

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Pep admitted that both Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy were back in training and have to be assessed of the huge game at Anfield between the top two teams in the Premier League who both remain unbeaten so far this season. Asked specifically about KDB, who has been out since August with a knee injury, Guardiola confirmed the Belgian superstar is back in training.

“He made part of the training today and he is training with us,” Guardiola said.

It appears that KDB could be on the bench for this weekend which would be a miraculous recovery given the initial diagnosis as it was thought he’d be out until November.

As for Mendy, he has recovered from a metatarsal injury but Fabian Delph is out and Ilkay Gundogan is struggling to be fit for the clash between title contenders.

Given the fact that City have lost three of their last four outings against Liverpool, having De Bruyne and Mendy back in contention would be a huge boost for Guardiola, even if they’re only available to come off the bench. Seeing De Bruyne come off the bench would no doubt scare Liverpool late in the game, as the likes of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Sergio Aguero are tough enough to handle during 90 minutes.

As for Liverpool, like Man City they’re going through a tough run of games with the League Cup, UEFA Champions and PL, and Jurgen Klopp issued an injury update on Naby Keita.

The Guinean midfielder was forced off late on in the defeat at Napoli on Wednesday with a back injury.

“He had a back spasm, so we have to wait a little bit today,” Klopp said. “He’s in today but whether he can do something on the training ground I don’t know.  We have to see the doctor again and we’ll make a decision. Tomorrow we’ll have to see. It didn’t look to serious, so there is a chance he can play but we don’t know.”

If Keita isn’t ready to play, Jordan Henderson will likely play in central midfield alongside James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Pep raves about Aguero, Mendy after blowout win

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Maybe Manchester City has been inspired by those lauding Liverpool’s 4-0 win to start the Premier League season, or fired up by that noisy man across town.

Or maybe they are just… that… good.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-1 Huddersfield Town ]

The reigning champions dismantled Huddersfield Town on Sunday, a week after blanking Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola spoke before the game about Town’s performances against City last season, a 0-0 draw and a 2-1 City win led by Town a halftime, and he clearly learned David Wagner‘s plan.

With Terriers leader Aaron Mooy out of the midfield, it really was game over.

“Last season Huddersfield played five at the back. We decided today, we would play with two strikers. All the players made a good performance. We could not attack in this way last year because we did not have Benjamin Mendy, he is so clever to go up and down. When we have we are able to attack in that way.”

Guardiola also gave a rave review to hat trick hero Sergio Aguero.

The Argentine forward scored his 13th Premier League hat trick.

“The pass was outstanding, the control by Sergio Aguero. I never saw him like this since I was here, he is in an incredible condition with the ball and without the ball. I thought to take Sergio off before the hat-trick but in the end it was perfect, he scored a goal and off to a standing ovation.”

City looks very good, and is well-positioned for a run at 21 points before its next big test at Liverpool.

Pep: Man City at ‘high level’ given complicated preseason

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Pep Guardiola‘s men had a few hiccups in Sunday’s Premier League opener against Arsenal, but overall were on cruise control.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 0-2 Man City ]

The 2-0 victory came with goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva, and perhaps most notably with Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, and Vincent Kompany on the bench.

The less than full strength unit still waltzed to the win, out shooting Arsenal 17-9 with 58 percent possession (numbers which aren’t a bad sign for the Gunners either, it must be noted).

Good stuff, says Pep.

“The first game was complicated away at Arsenal, and we played at a high level considering the physical condition of so many players who arrived late. It’s a first step, so keep going.”

“Yes. We have a lot of players with a lack of condition but we are more than two seasons together and know what to do. We made a good performance in general and day by day we will get better and better. I am privileged to be manager of Manchester City. We try to do our best always. Manchester City have given me a fantastic squad. I cannot complain for one minute.”

Of note, Benjamin Mendy had two assists and Pep had this little nugget for his gregarious and very talented left back.

We’ll just leave this here with you.