Kevin De Bruyne picked up a muscle injury and limped off the field in Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.
The Belgian, who had bagged one goal and three assists in his previous three games heading into the clash with Villa, was caught by a late challenge from Jack Grealish shortly after the start of the second half and managed just five more minutes before being withdrawn.
After the match, Guardiola answered questions about De Bruyne‘s fitness, but the boss confessed that he wouldn’t know much until the results of scans on the midfielder had come back.
“I haven’t spoken to the doctor,” he revealed (via the club’s official website). “Kevin put his hand on his leg, so I have the feeling it will be something muscular.
“It is normal, these things happen with this amount of games.”
While there has been no official time frame given to De Bruyne’s recovery, Guardiola will be sweating over who could replace the influential Belgian when City travel to The Hawthorns to face West Brom on Tuesday.
With Sergio Aguero still in isolation following a positive COVID-19 test, Guardiola opted to deploy Bernardo Silva as a false nine against Villa, but the Portuguese international could return to midfield in De Bruyne faces a spell on the sidelines.
It’s not only Guardiola who will be scratching his head over De Bruyne’s absence. The City midfielder is one of the most popular choices in fantasy football, and finding somebody to fill the void he leaves is easier said than done.
Fortunately, if you do need to replace De Bruyne, you’ll likely have a near-unlimited selection of replacements because of the Belgian’s high price tag.
Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-min and Grealish are all high-achieving alternatives, while cheaper options like Marcus Rashford, Wilfried Zaha and even Pedro Neto are all worth considering.
De Bruyne wasn’t the only man felled by Grealish against Villa. Right-back Kyle Walker was forced off earlier in the game after a tough challenge from his England team-mate, and Guardiola wasn’t sure of the severity of his issue either.
“Kyle asked to be out because something happened – hopefully it was just a kick,” he revealed.