John Stones’ remarkable Manchester City resurrection continued on Sunday as Pep Guardiola ’s side defeated Arsenal 1-0.
Stones had struggled to break past Aymeric Laporte and into City’s starting line-up last season, but has been handed a reprieve this term.
And he has continued to impress alongside Ruben Dias, with Mikel Arteta’s Gunners restricted to just one shot on target as City dominated at the Emirates.
Stones’ impressive performances have also provoked calls for a return to Gareth Southgate’s England side.
In fact, national boss Southgate would probably see the Three Lions’ defensive capabilities improve immeasurably if he recalled Stones to the team.
That is because the former Everton defender has seen his City side concede just three goals in the 15 games he has started this season.
During that time, City have also kept an incredible 12 clean sheets in the top-flight.
Stones failed to play in eight of City’s first nine games, but since being handed a start in the 5-0 win against Burnley, he has been a virtual ever-present.
That has helped City to rise to the top of the Premier League, with Guardiola’s men now 10 points clear of second-placed Leicester City.
And Stones’ partnership with Ruben Dias has not gone unnoticed by their team-mates, with matchwinner Raheem Sterling hailing the centre-backs.
"The centre-halves have been great this season,” he told Sky Sports after the 1-0 win.
“The centre-halves have a really great understanding and you can see there’s a bond there; it’s the same when Aymeric plays.”
Sterling also compared the City defence’s desire to keep clean sheets – they have not conceded in Stones’ last two games – to an attacker going on a scoring run.
“If I’m scoring goals I try to keep on a run and they’re trying to keep clean sheets so it’s a credit to them,” he said.
“We had a difficult start to the season but it’s a credit to the team that we started to dig results out when it really mattered.”
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