Benjamin Mendy in barcelona to see knee specialist as Guardiola fears extended absence

Manchester City face a serious blow as fears grow at the club that Benjamin Mendy faces a lengthy absence due to a knee injury. Pep Guardiola’s team have made an impressive start to the season after winning eight of their nine matches so far, with Mendy featuring in five of the victories. Yet the France defender was forced off from Saturday’s 5-0 win over Crystal Palace and despite City initially being optimistic that Mendy’s problem was not serious, the left-back will now fly to Barcelona to see specialist doctor Ramon Cugat on Thursday.

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Mendy, bought for around £52m in the summer, has been pivotal in City’s flying start. A prolonged absence would weaken Guardiola’s defensive resources as Vincent Kompany has again been ruled out with a calf injury. The manager can call on Danilo, another summer purchase who can play on the left, though against Shakhtar he preferred Fabian Delph. His other options might be to operate a wingback system featuring Leroy Sané or Raheem Sterling.

City travel to Chelsea on Saturday for their seventh Premier League match. The encounter with the champions should offer the sternest test yet of their credentials.

Guardiola fears French full-back Benjamin Mendy faces months on the sidelines with injury and compared his situation to Ilkay Gundogan’s nine-month lay-off. City are still not certain the full extent of the knee injury but Guardiola nodded when asked if his absence would be measured in months.

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