Fernandinho’s injury in the Champions League win against Porto on Wednesday night continues an ugly trend that has become all too familiar for Manchester City this season. The Brazilian limped off the pitch in added time despite joining the fray in the 85th minute.
Injuries have been the biggest problem facing the team as Guardiola has relied on the available players for team selections. The result has been an unconvincing start to the Premier League campaign. It was highlighted by the surprise 5-2 defeat to Leicester City last month.
The manager began the campaign without his target man Sergio Aguero who had been out of action since undergoing surgery last term. Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte tested positive to Covid-19 and were ruled out of the beginning of the season. The duo was later joined in self-isolation by Ilkay Gundogan.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has also been sidelined with niggling injuries since the season began while Bernardo Silva returned from the international break with muscle strain.
The City boss heaved a sigh of relief after Mahrez, Laporte, Silva and Gundogan returned. More recently Aguero made a come back helping the team triumph against Arsenal. But then, the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Benjamin Mendy and Nathan Ake took their place on the treatment table.
Fernandinho is the latest player to provide another cause for worry as the Brazilian suffered a knee problem during the Champions League encounter with Porto. He is expected to be out for four to six weeks. In that time, the midfielder will surely be missed due to the busy schedule of games as the manager expressed in the post-match interview.
“It is bad news,” Guardiola said.
“It is a problem in his leg. I think he will be out for four to six weeks. It is a big blow for us, with the amount of games.”
Thankfully, De Bruyne and Laporte returned to training on Thursday. The duo should feature against West Ham Saturday if all goes well.
The Hammers stunned Jose Mourinho and Tottenham with three goals in the last 12 minutes to run away with a draw last weekend. They have scored ten times in their last three Premier League outings putting Wolves and Leicester City to the sword in emphatic fashion.
City must turn up at the London Stadium ready to put up a top-notch performance to come away with the three points at stake. That is where the form and fitness of key players will prove vital.
Apparently, regular occurrence of injuries is becoming a norm due largely to the circumstances engendered by Covid-19. But the manager must find the best way to deal with the situation. Player management will be crucial this season in determining the success of the team.