Kevin De Bruyne is set to miss at least a month of action, including three hugely important games in the Premier League title race, after suffering a hamstring injury during Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old midfield superstar is expected to miss pivotal clashes Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal — three successive fixtures between Feb. 7 and Feb. 21. Having played one game fewer than current Premier League leaders Manchester United, Pep Guardiola’s side sits second, just two points back of the Red Devils.
Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League games (8W-2D-0L) and have surged back into the title race following a poor start to the season, thanks in large part to the continued brilliance of De Bruyne, who has amassed three goals and 10 assists thus far.
Guardiola confirmed the injury and spoke of De Bruyne’s influence on Friday — quotes from Sky Sports:
“Kevin, the doctor had to review the scan this morning, and he will be out between four and six weeks.”
“We have to move forward. I’m not saying that nobody doesn’t know about his importance. Unfortunately for him and us, he’ll be out for an important part of the season, and we have to find a solution because everyone’s struggling in this situation, and we have to adapt.
“The players don’t want to get injured, but they’re human. Why in the FA Cup can we use five subs but in the league not? It is a different competition. Is it a special one? It’s not just because it’s Kevin. It is everyone for the past five seasons. It is too many games.”
De Bruyne could miss as many as nine games — a stretch which would then also include Manchester City’s first-leg clash with Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 — should he require the full six weeks to recover from injury.
Kyle Walker, who was also forced off through injury on Wednesday, will miss Manchester City’s FA Cup fourth round clash with League Two side Cheltenham Town. However, Guardiola called the injury “a big impact kick in his hips, but just a kick,” therefore it is not thought to be serious.