Manchester City supporters everywhere received with shock the news of Kevin De Bruyne’s training ground injury on Wednesday. The Belgian is reported to have suffered a serious knee injury that could keep him out of action for the next two to four months. The incident is reminiscent of Benjamin Mendy’s early season cruciate ligament damage that occurred in the last campaign even though he is not expected to be out for as long as the Frenchman was.
But De Bruyne’s impact in the team last season was enormous as his goals and assists helped the Citizens cruise through the Premier League on the way to the league title. The combative midfielder scored 12 times and provided 21 assists in 52 appearances for City last term. That means he was directly involved in 33 of our goals. Yet he gives much more to the team as a result of his work rate and intelligence on the ball. His importance to the squad raises concerns as to how the team will cope without his contribution.
Further tests will be carried out by Dr. Ramon Cugat in Barcelona to confirm the severity of the injury and the length of time he will be sidelined. However, sources close to the player have revealed that the injury may be a torn lateral ligament in his right knee. It’s similar to the one he suffered against Everton in 2016 that kept him out of action for over two months.
The 27-year-old was City’s player of the season for the 2017-18 campaign and narrowly missed out on the PFA Player of the Year award as it went to Mohamed Salah. He put forth match of the match performances that carried the club through some tough games.
Pep Guardiola needs his best players fit as he aims to lead the club to defend the Premier League title and make progress in Europe. So losing our player of the season and our star player for months will definitely affect the team. The question though, is, to what extent?
Will his absence cost the team any valuable points in the league? What about the Champions League?
Fortunately, the next six games will all be against teams that were promoted to the Premier League in the last two years. Huddersfield and Wolves round up August, while Newcastle, Fulham, Cardiff and Brighton come in September. This is a good list to get the winning momentum going. The first Champions League match of the season will also come in mid-September.
By the time the team faces Liverpool in October, it should be riding on top of the table.
The midfielder’s absence will not be catastrophic as the Blues will be able to cope. The squad has enough depth as it is to continue from where it stopped last season. This view was expressed by Kyle Walker.
“Kevin is a great player and it’s just unfortunate that it’s happened to him in training but there’s more than enough depth in the squad.
“We don’t just rely on one player. It’s a team game and whoever steps in will do well. Obviously it’s a big loss but we’ve got more than enough cover,” he stated while speaking at the premiere of the club’s documentary ‘All or Nothing’ that held on Wednesday evening.
Sure, De Bruyne will be missed. But players like David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Fabian Delph, Ilkay Gundogan and even Phil Foden are all ready to step in and do the job in midfield.
As was the case with Mendy’s absence, the manager will find a way to fill any gaps in the team as appropriate. Whether he misses two or four months of the season, he should be back in time to contribute to this season’s success.