The attacking midfielder has been ruled out for a lengthy spell after suffering a knee injury, meaning he will miss some key matches
Manchester City have suffered a devastating blow following the news that Kevin De Bruyne will be out for around three months with a lateral knee ligament injury.
Just one game into the new Premier League season, Pep Guardiola’s men have lost one of their most important players for a significant chunk of the campaign.
The Belgium international topped the division’s assist chart last season, created more chances than anyone else and scored eight times as City won the title by a 19-point margin.
City and De Bruyne may be relieved that he does not need surgery on his injury, but the loss of such a key player could hinder their defence of their crown as well as the early stages of their Champions League campaign, as he will be out for some crucial games.
Guardiola’s side got on fine without the attacking midfielder in the Community Shield win over Chelsea and in last week’s 2-0 victory at Arsenal, where he played the last 30 minutes.
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And so the reigning champions will feel they should get three points when they host Huddersfield on Sunday and even build up a run of wins as games against Wolves, Newcastle, Fulham, Cardiff and Brighton follow.
However, De Bruyne’s absence may become more obvious when his side make the trip to Liverpool on October 7, and clashes with Tottenham and Manchester United follow soon after.
City have more than the top flight to worry about, though, as De Bruyne will also be out for four Champions League matches and two Carabao Cup ties.
He could be back for the Premier League match against West Ham on November 24 or perhaps the penultimate Champions League group stage game a few days later.
And Guardiola admits he is hoping his side manage to keep it together and ensure they are in a strong position for when De Bruyne returns.
“Hopefully, in that time, he can do as well as possible so that when he comes back, he can help us again,” Guardiola said ahead of Sunday’s game.
“He will be a big miss… It’s not easy to replace Kevin but we are going to do our best. We are not happy. It happens every season like with Ilkay Gundogan a few years ago and Mendy last season.
“Kevin needs to rest and get the holiday that he didn’t get over the summer. We have players. We will see.”