Pep Guardiola made no secret of the injury issues plaguing his squad in the aftermath of their 2023/24 UEFA Champions League opener against Red Star.
Having already lost key playmaker Kevin De Bruyne to a long-term injury in August, Guardiola saw Bernardo Silva trudge off before half-time in their 3-1 victory in Europe.
“We are in trouble but I am not going to say ‘oh, we have a lot of injuries’. It is what it is,” Guardiola said, acknowledging both the severity of the injuries and how managers often complain when their stars are struck down.
If any team has the riches and wealth of depth to deal with the absence of the Belgium international, it’s City. However, with three teams two points behind the Premier League leaders after five games, the squad’s limits now look like they could be tested more so this term than previously before.
Here’s who Guardiola is currently missing.
De Bruyne is out for the long-term / Michael Regan/GettyImages
Injury: Hamstring When: vs Burnley – 11 August Out: 3-4 months
Ballon d’Or, FIFA The Best and UEFA Player of the Year nominee Kevin De Bruyne had his year curtailed by injury in August, only a few months after limping out of the Champion League final.
City won both games against Inter and Burnley in the Belgian’s absence and he underwent surgery soon after the knock was revealed. De Bruyne won’t play again until 2024, with City likely to be chasing multiple trophies in the second half of the season.
Silva was subbed in the Champions League / Michael Regan/GettyImages
Injury: Unspecified When: vs Red Star – 19 September Out: Unspecified
Silva was brought off just before half-time as Jeremy Doku entered the fray in his place. He was one of many City players in great form too, having scored and assisted in the recent 3-1 win over West Ham.
Grealish has been sidelined with a muscle problem / Nigel French/Allstar/GettyImages
Injury: Muscle When: 29 August Out: Could return vs Newcastle in Carabao Cup (27 September) or Wolves (30 September)
Guardiola admitted the ‘damage is there’ when giving the latest on Jack Grealish’s return from injury. Having not played since a 2-1 win at Sheffield United in late August, the former Aston Villa captain is approaching a month-long absence.
Grealish also dropped out of the England squad that played Ukraine and Scotland during the September international break but should be back playing for City in the next few weeks.
Kovacic joined City from Chelsea in the summer / Visionhaus/GettyImages
Injury: Back When: September international break Out: Could return vs Nottingham Forest (23 September)
City took an educated punt on Mateo Kovacic during the summer transfer window. The Croatia international is a proven performer in the Premier League and Champions League but has always had a dodgy track record with injuries.
Lower back discomfort saw Kovacic sit out Red Star Belgrade’s visit but he could be included in their league squad to take on Nottingham Forest in City’s return to the Premier League.
Stones is close to returning from a hip problem / Claudio Villa/GettyImages
Injury: Hip When: Early August Out: Could return vs Nottingham Forest (23 September)
John Stones wowed crowds in England and around Europe with his star turn as a midfield pivot in the final few months of 2022/23 but his campaign so far has been stunted by a hip problem.
The former Everton defender hasn’t played since the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal in early August but is closing in on a return. Guardiola revealed Stones “is better, but he still has issues”.
Steffen is keen to leave Man City / Visionhaus/GettyImages
Injury: Knee When: 1 June Out: 1-2 months
USMNT international Zack Steffen has already confirmed his desire to leave City for more regular game time but knee surgery in the summer meant he had few suitors during the transfer window.
He’s been included in City’s Premier League squad for now but will be on the lookout for a chance to leave Manchester in January.
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