Man City face goalkeeper crisis in January with World Cup matches to exclude three key players

Manchester City will already be without Riyad Mahrez for most of January – or all if he repeats his African Cup of Nations success from two years ago.

Now, however, they will also prepare for the absence of three more key players for a crucial period of the season as CONMEBOL and CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers take place.

With the majority of City’s players involved in European qualifiers, which ended this week, there will be no international football for their UEFA players until March. Some, like Aleks Zinchenko and the three Portuguese players, will have to fight the playoffs to qualify for the World Cup, while others will probably take part in friendly matches after having already secured qualification.

However, the qualification has not yet been completed in America, and an additional international window, which was approved in January, throws a key into City’s preparations that month.

Fortunately, the Premier League takes a break between City’s trip to Southampton on 22 January and the home game against Brentford on 9 February. This is due to a ‘winter break’ of a week as well as the FA Cup’s fourth round.

This means, however, that City’s Brazilian and American players are likely to be called up for international service during that period, depriving them of a break after a busy Christmas period.

In addition to Mahrez’s absence, City have the depth to cope with Gabriel Jesus’ expected absence for the possible FA Cup match, but things get more worrying when they take into account the likelihood that Ederson and Zack Steffen will both be selected by their countries. .

It could leave City without their two senior goalkeepers for a possible cup tournament, leaving Scott Carson with their most senior opportunity. Alternatively, Ciaran Slicker has been involved in first team training this year and is a regular man for those under 23 years of age.

Carson played his only appearance for City in last year’s 4-3 win at Newcastle, where he saved a penalty kick but saw the return scored. He is a popular figure in the City squad, and has plenty of experience to replace if necessary, but the situation is far from ideal with Steffen usually the designated FA Cup goalkeeper.

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