City defender returns to ease defensive problem

Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City defender

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta is set to return to ease the club’s injury problems in the light of Micah Richards’ knee problem.

Richards took a knock during Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win against Swansea and was stretchered off the pitch while being given oxygen. There were early reports that suggested that he could be out for up to three months, but official results of his scan are expected to come out later today.

The return of Zabaleta could not have come at a better time and the Argentinian is expected to recover from a hamstring injury in time for Saturday’s game at West Ham.

City’s victory against Swansea extended the club’s record to 34 unbeaten home games, but the injury to Richards has given boss Roberto Mancini more defensive concerns after his tactics has come under scrutiny during the week’s Champions League defeat at Ajax.

The right back position is a trouble spot at the Etihad at the moment. Maicon is struggling with a foot injury he picked up in the defeat against Real Madrid in mid-September, Richards is now out and Zabaleta coming back from injury means that Kolo Toure might have to cover in the right back position which is not his most comfortable position.

The injury is a big blow for Richards who has only recently got back into the City team. The club’s youth development graduate has only managed to feature in three games this season and is now expected to spend more time on the sidelines.

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