Pablo Zabaleta has yet to feature for Manchester City this season, and he’ll have to wait another month to do so after suffering a knee injury in training.
The right-back has been a fixture in City’s back-line for the past seven seasons, but has not played in the opening two matches as he has been given some extra rest after playing for Argentina in the Copa America this summer.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Bacary Sagna has filled in during Zabaleta’s absence, and will now remain the starter as he is the only other true right-back on the roster.
The club released a statement on the defender’s situation on it’s official website:
The City defender, yet to start a game this season, will hope to be in contention for the Blues’ opening Champions League game in mid-September but could miss up to six games.
It’s the first real injury Zabaleta has suffered in his career – though he has had numerous head and facial wounds over the past seven years – and it leaves Bacary Sagna as the Blues’ only recognised first-team right-back.
“It happened in training,” confirmed the Argentina defender. “It’s the first time in 12 years of senior football that I’ve ever been injured like this so it’s a blow, especially at the start of the season.”
City has started the season flying high with two 3-0 wins, including last weekend’s thorough beating of defending champs Chelsea. While both of those wins have come without Zabaleta in the lineup, his absence for an extended period of time could hurt the side.
[ RELATED: Prince-Wright’s Week 3 Premier League picks ]
If Bacary Sagna goes down, Manuel Pellegrini will have to find an option at outside-back. Gael Clichy has yet to debut for City as he continues to come back from an injury, and new signing Nicolas Otamendi will stay in the center of the defense.