After seeing their unbeaten start to the season come crashing down at Chelsea, Manchester City face a hectic few weeks – and they’re without three key men.
David Silva has joined Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero in the treatment room. The Spaniard is set to be out for three weeks. He’ll miss the festive season.
Pep Guardiola’s men are now a point behind Liverpool, and will play another six games in all competitions before December is out.
So the news that Silva, Guardiola’s most creative outlet, will miss the rest of the month is a huge blow.
Our traders maintain that City are still title favourites at 1/3. But unlike last season, they haven’t got room to drop points. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds aren’t giving them that luxury.
Come January, we’ll have a much clearer picture of how this season’s title race will shape out. And that will be down to City’s squad players.
With Silva and De Bruyne out, the responsibility moves to the likes of Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez.
Bernardo Silva has already become one of Pep’s main men this term. He’s started 14 times in the league, which is just one less than his total league starts for all of last season.
Mahrez, who joined from Leicester City in the summer, has only started eight times. But in recent weeks he has begun to look like every inch a Man City player.
Then there’s Sane, who continues to be on the fringes of Pep’s XI.
Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus will look to cover Aguero’s absence up front. The Argentine may return at the weekend, but whether or not he is fully fit will remain to be seen.
But with David Silva and De Bruyne both out, it is up to Sane, Mahrez and Bernardo Silva to fill that sizeable creative void. That’s the real concern – and test – for City this month.
Whether they succeed or fail over the next few weeks could have a significant impact in this season’s Premier League title race.
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