City’s Depth Means They are Equipped to Cope with Absence of De Bruyne
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City’s Depth Means They are Equipped to Cope with Absence of De Bruyne

Manchester City began the season as strong favourites for Premier League glory, and they have hardened in the betting despite losing star midfielder Kevin de Bruyne to a serious knee injury.

Pep Guardiola’s men were priced up at 1.67 by 188BET to defend the title before a ball had been kicked. Two games and one serious injury later, and the light blues are 1.53 to win the crown for a second year in a row.

If any other team in the division had lost a player of De Bruyne’s ability, it would have sent shockwaves through the camp. But such is the talent at Guardiola’s disposal, it is unlikely to impact on their play.

Not for a second are we downplaying the talent of De Bruyne who for a couple of seasons has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League, but Guardiola has so much depth in his midfield ranks.

With De Bruyne absent, a platform has been laid for Bernardo Silva to step up and show the Premier League what he can do. Signed from Monaco last summer, the Portuguese was used sparingly by Guardiola in his first campaign in England.

With so many options to call on, Guardiola had the luxury of allowing Bernardo Silva the chance to steadily acclimatise to the rigours of the Premier League.

With De Bruyne now out for around three months, that policy could reap dividends. Silva was outstanding in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea and it was a similar situation in the league opener against Arsenal, after which Guardiola was glowing in his praise of the midfielder.

“The performance of Bernardo Silva was a masterpiece,” Guardiola said, per Sky Sports. “Right now, it is Bernardo and 10 players more.

“He is so intelligent, he is clever. He is a fighter, a competitor. I think he is the guy most beloved in our team and today he showed me a lot of things.”

Silva controlled the play from the centre of the park against Arsenal, but in the 6-1 mauling of Huddersfield Town on Sunday he was deployed on the right flank – to equally good effect.

That again emphasised the options at Guardiola’s disposal, as he has the luxury of shifting formations and personnel without impacting on their ability to control games.

Losing your star playmaker for three months can never be viewed as a positive, and De Bruyne could well miss games against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Fulham Cardiff, Brighton and Liverpool, but City have the resources to cope and they will then have the added bonus of a fresh player returning for a busy period in the campaign.

Losing De Bruyne is not good, but City are equipped to cope.

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