Oleksandr Zinchenko filled in superbly at left-back for Manchester City during their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on the weekend and Pep Guardiola was all praises for the converted midfielder in the aftermath of the tie that saw them rise to the top of the Premier League table.
Benjamin Mendy, first-choice in the position, has been struggling with a metatarsal injury for the past few weeks while his backup, Fabian Delph, is not expected to be in action till the end of October at the earliest.
“Delph will not be back this week. Mendy is training much better, but I don’t know exactly when he will be ready. Guardiola responded when asked about the injury situation at left back.
Mendy’s absence could prove telling in the long run as the World Cup winner had begun the season in sensational manner.
After missing most of the last season with a serious knee injury, the powerful fullback had a point to prove and he’s already helped himself to four assists so far.
“Oleks helped us a lot last season. All players know they are part of a team. People maybe did not expect him to play today – but he played really well in the last game and deserved to play again,” the Catalan manager gushed.
Zinchenko, a 21-year-old Ukrainian, is actually a winger but with the crisis at left-back, is being utilised as a makeshift defender for the time being.
Aymeric Laporte played at left-back last season for the Sky Blues when Delph was unavailable and the Spaniard could be asked to deputies there again.
With Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Laporte all available, Guardiola could be tempted to play his compatriot on the left flank.
City have a big week ahead for they travel to Hoffenheim for a UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday night before visiting Anfield to play Liverpool in a Premier League fixture on Sunday and they’ll certainly need all hands on deck.