Manchester City believe they have the handsome resources to thrive in the absence of Kevin de Bruyne, but could they now discover that life without their injured midfield gem is more uncomfortable than they suspect?
With the second round of Premier League matches upon us this weekend, the knee injury to De Bruyne has cast a rare cloud over the Etihad, so instrumental was the Belgian in leading the champions’ all-conquering 100-point campaign last season.
Naturally, Pep Guardiola’s men will still expect to dispatch Huddersfield Town comfortably enough on Sunday, but it would be no surprise if they felt just a little fazed by the prospect that De Bruyne may be out of action for a substantial period.
He was City’s warmest comfort blanket in the previous campaign, having played, mostly superbly, in all but one of their 38 league matches.
He’s already made a mark in their first game of this season when he came on for half an hour at Arsenal just when they seemed to be losing their way a little and helped provide the calm authority to steer them to a crucial opening away win.
“Kevin is a great player and it’s just unfortunate that it’s happened to him in training but there’s more than enough depth in the squad,” said teammate Kyle Walker.
“We don’t just rely on one player. Obviously it’s a big loss but we’ve got more than enough cover.”