Manchester City have kicked off their title defence in typically domineering fashion with back-to-back victories over Chelsea and Arsenal in the Community Shield and Premier League respectively, but circumstances that are out of their hands could yet scupper their bid to clinch the ultimate prize in English football.
Any title winning side needs the rub of the green in various key moments of the season, and City have managed to get themselves on the wrong side of lady luck with barely even a week of the new season underway. Arguably City’s most creative player, no other than Kevin De Bruyne, has been ruled out for the foreseeable future with a knee injury.
According to The Guardian, the injury is suspected lateral ligament damage which typically keeps players sidelined for around 12 weeks, and if the initial fears are eventually confirmed there’s no doubt that City’s title rivals will be feeling a new sense of confidence for the season ahead.
The City hierarchy may now be rueing their decision to not sign a new central midfield player this summer, but there is plenty of talent in the squad to suggests they are well stocked to deal with the absence of their baby-faced Belgian
Bernardo Silva has been widely touted as the man who will fill the creative void left by De Bruyne in the coming months after he enjoyed a tremendous opening to the season, however, the Portugal international may yet be partnered in midfield alongside the increasingly promising Phil Foden (valued at £6.3 million by Transfermarkt).
The 18-year-old wonderkid is slowly establishing himself in the first-team and is really beginning to knock on Pep Guardiola’s door for regular involvement.
Foden exuded a level of confidence and composure against Chelsea two weekends ago which gave the onlooking supporters no doubt that he does indeed belong at this level, which is a rather frightening admission considering he only turned 18-years-old in May.
The sky truly is the limit for the Stockport-born academy product, and with De Bruyne ruled out there’s no doubt that his involvement will increase in the coming weeks.
A notable problem for City is that both Bernardo and David Silva are, like Foden, left-footed attacking midfielders, so the balance of the side could represent something of a problem for Guardiola to manage during De Bruyne’s absence and encourage him to play Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and one of the three aforementioned players in the third central midfield slot.
But either way there is scope for Foden to push for a starting berth and prove to his manager that he is ready for regular opportunities and not just sporadic appearances from the substitutes bench.
The stage is set for one of the brightest young talents to step under the spotlight and showcase the true extent of his ability in De Bruyne’s absence.
Manchester City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!