Kevin De Bruyne suffered a muscle injury and limped off the field in Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
The Belgian, who had recorded one goal and three assists in his previous three games before the clash with Villa, was caught by a late challenge from Jack Grealish shortly after the start of the second half and only managed five more minutes before being withdrawn.
After the game Guardiola answered questions about De Bruyne’s fitness, but the boss admitted he wouldn’t know much until the midfield test results returned.
“I didn’t speak to the doctor,” he revealed (via the club’s official website). “Kevin put his hand on his leg so I have a feeling it’s going to be something muscular.
“It’s normal, these things happen with so many games.”
While no official deadline has been given on De Bruyne’s recovery, Guardiola will be left wondering who could replace the influential Belgian when City travel to The Hawthorns to face West Brom on Tuesday.
With Sergio Aguero still isolated after a positive COVID-19 test, Guardiola opted to deploy Bernardo Silva as a false nine against Villa, but the Portugal international could return to midfield at De Bruyne facing a fate on the sidelines.
It’s not just Guardiola who will be scratching his head due to De Bruyne’s absence. The City midfielder is one of the most popular choices in fantasy football, and finding someone to fill the void he leaves is easier said than done.
Fortunately, if you have to replace De Bruyne, you will likely have an almost limitless selection of replacements due to the Belgian’s high price tag.
Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-min and Grealish are all high performing alternatives, while cheaper options like Marcus Rashford, Wilfried Zaha and even Pedro Neto are all worth considering.
De Bruyne wasn’t the only man downed by Grealish against Villa. Right-back Kyle Walker was sent off earlier in the game after a tough challenge from his England team-mate, and Guardiola was also unsure of the severity of his problem.
“Kyle asked to be out because something happened – I hope it was just a kick,” he revealed.
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