Kevin de Bruyne was pivotal to Manchester City’s success last season and Pep Guardiola will be sweating on his fitness in the coming weeks. The Belgium midfielder suffered a serious knee injury in training ahead of City’s clash with Huddersfield Town and Blues fans will have all fingers and toes crossed for positive news in relation to the setback.
Without a doubt, De Bruyne is one of the best midfielders in world football and he will be sorely missed if he is out for an extended spell. The City star ended the 2017/18 campaign with eight goals and 16 assists in 37 Premier League appearances last season and neutrals will want De Bruyne to return as quickly as possible – he is an absolute joy to watch.
He was central to Belgium’s success at the 2018 World Cup, leading Roberto Martinez’s side to the semi-finals before falling short against eventual champions France. De Bruyne is one of the best players in the business at controlling a football match; he is the Andrea Pirlo of this era. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying his talent and City will miss his influence in midfield.
City were red-hot favourites ahead of the 2018/19 campaign and Pep’s men are still market principles in the latest Premiership odds for the title. De Bruyne’s injury will hinder the Blues but City are well placed to cope without the Belgian. Phil Foden is maturing into a fine young talent whilst David Silva and Bernardo Silva can cover De Bruyne if needed.
Foden can be the next big superstar at the Etihad Stadium and Guardiola could give him the chance to prove his worth this season. The 18-year-old is still developing but Pep has been full of praise for Foden during his City tenure and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the England youngster work his way into the starting line-up on a regular basis in 2018/19.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Pep on if Phil Foden is ready: "Yes. He was last season. He's one year more mature. He's a Manchester City fan, he's a Mancunian, and that's why it's so good."</p>— City Watch (@City_Watch) <a href=”https://twitter.com/City_Watch/status/1026136638047576065?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>August 5, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Domestically, City should be able to cope in De Bruyne’s absence but the Blues may struggle to compete on the European stage without their Belgian talisman. Backing against Pep’s side would be foolish though, you’d be hard pressed to find a squad with greater depth in world football. De Bruyne makes City tick and the Blues could come unstuck against Europe’s top clubs.
Plenty of punters will be backing Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool following the De Bruyne news and you can understand that reaction. The Reds demolished West Ham United 4-0 at Anfield on the opening weekend and many believe that Liverpool will be City’s main challengers for the title this campaign. It would be foolish to jump to any conclusions before the full extent of De Bruyne’s injury is revealed though…
De Bruyne’s latest setback will give Liverpool confidence in the Premier League title race but City are still well equipped to retain the crown. With Guardiola in charge, City will always be confident of glory and De Bruyne will be hopefully fit to return after the festive period – if not before. City will take some stopping, even if their midfield maestro is out for a long spell.