Manchester City began the defence of their Premier League title in disappointing fashion as they failed to impress in a 1-0 away defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Pep Guardiola’s side strolled to their third title under his tutelage last season, but pundits believe they will face stiffer competition this time around.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all started the season with convincing victories meaning City are already in catch-up mode.
The Sky Blues will look to bounce back against newly-promoted Norwich City, who Liverpool handily beat 3-0 in Saturday’s evening kick-off.
However, Guardiola might be without several key players who are doubts to feature this weekend. MEN Sport take a look at what’s new on the injury front at the Etihad.
Ilkay Gundogan looks set to miss City’s trip to Norwich this weekend after falling victim to a heavy tackle that forced him off in the final moments of the Spurs defeat on Sunday.
This is a serious blow to Guardiola, as the 30-year-old was one of the only first-team players to have undergone a comprehensive pre-season this summer owing to Germany’s early exit at Euro 2020.
The German had his best season in Manchester last campaign, bagging an incredible 13 Premier League goals from midfield – finishing as City’s top goal-scorer.
However, the timeline on his injury does not look promising, with Guardiola stating: “It was something in his shoulder. We will see what happens tomorrow with the doctor. it looks like something happened.”
Guardiola has admitted that Phil Foden will be out “for a while” due to the training injury that ruled him out of England’s Euro 2020 final defeat at the hands of Italy.
Foden had a breakout season for City in 2020/21, announcing himself as one of Europe’s brightest young talents.
The forward was expected to play an integral role for England at Euro 2020 but struggled to reassert himself into the team following Bukayo Saka’s surprise emergence.
Foden and Kevin De Bruyne in action for Manchester City
(Image: Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
Unfortunately, the Stockport Iniesta will have to wait a few weeks to get the new campaign underway as the injury continues to plague him.
Guardiola commented: “Phil will be out for a while; it’s a tough injury with the national team. We have to be careful with it because if we’re not, we anticipate it will be longer and longer.”
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne looks in line to start against Norwich after concerns over his fitness ahead of the new season.
The Belgian was named as a substitute in the defeat against Spurs on Sunday, but his introduction on the 79th minute demonstrated why he is dubbed the best player in the Premier League.
The pass-master added a sense of urgency and delivered the passes that have created so many goals for City in the past few seasons. However, City lacked a central presence to get on the end of the teasing crosses.
Encouragingly, De Bruyne looks set to start this weekend and will surely provide the attacking spark that City missed in their trip to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
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