Benjamin Mendy

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Walker, Mendy react to wild GK day; Pep updates Ederson status

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With both goalkeepers out of the match, Manchester City goalkeeper defender Kyle Walker drew the short straw and went between the sticks in a 1-1 draw with Atalanta in Bergamo, Italy, on Wednesday.

Ederson was injured at halftime — he’s a doubt for Sunday’s visit to Liverpool — and Claudio Bravo was sent off for DOGSO foul on Josip Ilicic after an Ilkay Gundogan giveaway.

[ RECAP: Man City 1-1 Atalanta ]

First clad in a black warm-up top before being forced into a pink “C. Bravo 1” shirt, Walker made two saves to preserve the point.

From the Manchester Evening News:

“I try and sometimes wind up the keepers in training telling them to catch it and stuff but as I found tonight sometimes you have to take two touches.”

City fullback Benjamin Mendy offered thanks to Walker for the saves and the point, which have the Group C leaders five points ahead of chasing Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk with two matches to play.

“Yeah I think tonight was a very tough game, we know it before the game and how we fight until the end to not keep a score, I say again thank you Kyle,” Mendy said. “Because it’s very not easy to take this responsibility to be a goalkeeper and save the free-kick and it’s one game we’re going to remember it for when we go forward in the cup.”

[ WATCH: Walker saves free kick ]

Pep Guardiola said he does not know whether Ederson will be fit for Sunday’s huge match at Anfield.

“It’s a muscular [thigh] problem,” he told The Manchester Evening News. “It was not big but to avoid risk. He didn’t feel comfortable in the last minutes and that’s why we decided to make a substitution.”

City has big games before their remaining two UCL fixtures, and may not be able to front load its lineup for at least one. Chelsea, itself in UCL uncertainty, visits the Etihad on Nov. 23 before Man City hosts Shakhtar Donetsk in the UCL. And City hosts the Manchester Derby before its final group stage match at Dinamo Zagreb.

Bernardo Silva charged by FA over Mendy tweet

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Bernardo Silva faces a ban from playing after being charged by the English Football Association.

The Manchester City midfielder was charged by the FA on Wednesday after posting a message on his Twitter account on September 22 with a photo of close friend and City teammate Benjamin Mendy next to a mascot for Spanish confectionery brand Conguitos.

He posted the message “Guess who?” above the photos before deleting it and then saying “Can’t even joke with a friend these days… You Guys…”

In a statement the FA confirmed Silva has been charged after breaching rule E3.

Bernardo Silva has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on September 22, 2019. It is alleged that the Manchester City player’s activity breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”

“It is further alleged that the activity constitutes an “Aggravated Breach”, which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or color and/or ethnic origin. The midfielder has until 9 October 2019 to provide a response.”

Silva has been defended by both Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling, with the former launching impassioned defenses of Silva on more than one occasion over the past 10 days.

That has led to heavy criticism of Guardiola and his handling of the situation.

Silva will now have to either accept the charge or request a personal hearing, as it is believed he has already written to the FA along with Mendy who said he was not offended by the tweet.

An independent panel would set the punishment for Silva, with any incident of on-field discrimination automatically seeing a six-game ban imposed. Due to this being an off-field incident, different rules are likely to apply.

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.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

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.