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Why John Stones Was Dropped From the Man City Starting XI Against West Ham

Pep Guardiola has explained the reason behind John Stones being replaced by Aymeric Laporte in the Manchester City starting eleven for Sunday's Premier League game against West Ham.

Stones, who made just his sixth start of the campaign in midweek against Paris Saint-Germain, was replaced by Aymeric Laporte in central defence for Manchester City's clash with West Ham at the Etihad.

The Frenchman was partnered alongside Ruben Dias for the Blues' 2-1 win over the Hammers, with Manuel Lanzini's 94th minute strike denying the pair an eighth clean sheet of the season. 

Despite the baltic conditions in east Manchester, Pep Guardiola's side secured a vital three points as they moved to within just one point of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea with the victory. 

Ilkay Gundogan gave the Blues the lead from close range on the 33rd minute, shortly after Riyad Mahrez had seen his goal ruled out for offside. Manchester City would then ensure the victory late on, as Fernandinho's effort flew into the bottom corner.

West Ham halved the deficit in injury time, but were unable to prevent the Blues winning their fifth game of the month and opening up a six point gap between themselves and the Hammers. 

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Post-match, Pep Guardiola explained the reason behind Aymeric Laporte's return to the starting eleven, after a fine performance from John Stones against Paris Saint-Germain in the week. 

The Catalan revealed that John Stones had been suffering with illness, hence the 27 year-old only being fit enough to feature on the bench. 

Asked about Stones, Pep Guardiola said, “John [Stones] was not well the last two days. He had a fever after the game against PSG.”

However, Laporte's 29th minute yellow card means that the Spanish international is now suspended for Manchester City's game against Aston Villa on Wednesday night, paving the way for either Stones or Nathan Ake to enter the City defence.

Speaking about City's centre-back situation ahead of the trip to Villa park, the Blues boss said, "I would like Nathan [Ake] to play more than he is playing but Aymeric [Laporte] is playing really well. He is suspended for the game against Aston Villa, so [it’s] a new chance for the other guys." 

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