- City boss admits injury situation is a problem
- Only six outfield players on the bench for Red Star Belgrade match
- Citizens face hectic schedule with key men missing
Manchester City’s formidable start to the season is under threat as a mounting injury crisis looms over the club. Boss Pep Guardiola, expressed his concern after the 3-1 Champions League victory over Red Star Belgrade, where City had only six outfield players on the bench.
Silva joins injury list
Adding to the woes, midfielder Bernardo Silva is set to join a growing list of sidelined players, with Guardiola confirming he will be out for “the next few weeks.” Silva’s injury puts him in the company of Kevin de Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Mateo Kovacic and John Stones, all of whom are currently unavailable.
This comes on the back of a summer transfer window that saw City part ways with key players like Riyad Mahrez, Cole Palmer, and Aymeric Laporte. Additionally, skipper Ilkay Gundogan left for Barcelona upon the expiration of his contract, and Joao Cancelo, along with promising talents Tommy Doyle and James McAtee, departed on loan.
While some may argue that Guardiola’s squad is well-equipped to handle such setbacks, the timing of these injuries couldn’t be worse. With three crucial Premier League fixtures on the horizon, including a visit to Arsenal on October 8th, a Carabao Cup clash with Newcastle United, and a Champions League encounter against RB Leipzig, Guardiola admitted, “we are in trouble.”
Guardiola emphasised that despite the challenges, the team will continue to give their all with the players at their disposal. He acknowledged the practical limitations of managing a squad, highlighting the financial constraints and potential chaos associated with an excessively large roster.
In terms of player updates, De Bruyne faces a prolonged absence, while Stones’ return remains uncertain. Kovacic’s comeback appears to be on the horizon, Grealish could potentially return within the next week or so, albeit with a need for additional time to regain match fitness.
While City have, by their standards, been weakened by this latest injury crisis bettors should remember that their second choice players would walk into most other Premier League teams. Guardiola has said in the past that he prefers a small, versatile squad to a bloated one.
The biggest problem City may face is the lack of scope to rest players when they are in such a busy phase of the season. Bettors who choose to wager against City may get value for money if Guardiola’s side are hot by fatigue. Though this is far from guaranteed. City also have developed an excellent academy so do not be surprised to see some good young players appearing on the bench.
There is a chance that Guardiola may prioritise Premier League and Champions League matches, therefore it is possible that the team to travel to Newcastle in the EFL Cup could contain more younger players than Guardiola would usually include for a cup match against a team such as Eddie Howe’s side.
Bettors need to study the performances of City players who might get a larger slice of the action, such as Kalvin Phillips and assess whether there is likely to be a significant change in performance levels as they attempt to navigate the next few weeks with a number of key men missing.