The defensive pair missed the midweek Champions League win over RB Leipzig with muscle injuries they initially picked up whilst on international duty.
Aymeric Laporte has had a great start to the season and has formed a solid partnership with Ruben Dias at the heart of the Sky Blues’ backline this term, much like John Stones did during 2020/21.
When speaking about the pair on Friday, Pep suggested that both players look set to miss at least City’s next three matches.
The Spaniard stated that he does not know if they will be back for Wycombe or Chelsea – City’s next two outings following Southampton – but hopefully they can be ready after that:
“Muscle injury. Stones didn’t play for us and played 90 minutes for the national team and came back injured. Laporte came back with some niggles but he wanted to play against Leicester, but after that game his niggles were a little bit higher and we didn’t want to take a risk. I don’t know against Wycombe or Chelsea but hopefully they can be ready after.”
This would leave just Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake as natural centre-back options for the next three games, as well as being without two of their best defenders for a huge clash with Chelsea.
In reaction to the news shared on Twitter by City Xtra, many Man City fans have expressed their thoughts and opinions.
We’re done. If they don’t come back for Chelsea/ Liverpool season is over— Mohammed Al-Thani (@mbaalthani8) September 17, 2021
Another Ake masterclass loading…— ⁴⁷ʀᴇᴠᴠʏ💫 (@MCFCfanboy) September 17, 2021
in Ake we trust— Amith (@AmithAlegend) September 17, 2021
I wouldn’t let ake play his da just died he needs to take some time out to grieve— 🇮🇪 #TxikiOut (@Fodeninho_) September 17, 2021
Ruben and ake should spend some time together to create "the link"— Puju (@panjiningrat) September 17, 2021
Very unfortunate. Our defense will be frail if they don't come before we face Liverpool Chelsea and PSG.— Fred OBERA (@fobera) September 17, 2021
I trust Ake to step up again pic.twitter.com/rkIYke66hp— Karim (@kaerimX119) September 17, 2021
Guardiola is expecting to have Nathan Ake available to face Southampton.
The centre-back’s father sadly passed away minutes after he scored his first goal in the Champions League against Leipzig on Tuesday, after which he paid a touching tribute on social media.
“Nathan has shown his personality,” added the City boss.
“We are concerned and sad. Our condolences to his mother, brother, family, friends, fiancé.
“All we can say is we are there for him. We tried in the last hours to let them feel how close we are with him.
“I am pretty sure he will be ready tomorrow and fit to fight for us.”