Three-time defending Premier League champions Manchester City just got a whole lot scarier, after Kevin De Bruyne returned on Sunday from the hamstring injury that had kept him out for five months, since the opening day of the season.
Of course, Pep Guardiola's side "struggled" (by their own ridiculously lofty standards) without De Bruyne, yet they sit 3rd in the PL table, just five points back of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand. Man City also lead the league in goals scored (45 in 19 games) despite having played one fewer game than everyone else in the top-10.
Here's De Bruyne marking his return with a clever cross to Jeremy Doku to give Manchester City their fifth and final goal in an FA Cup third-round rout.
WHAT AN ASSIST FROM KEVIN DE BRUYNE IN HIS FIRST GAME BACK FROM INJURY TO JEREMY DOKU!
League might be in trouble pic.twitter.com/l6vnLu6bNu
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 7, 2024
Latest update on Kevin de Bruyne
Speaking after City's 3-1 win at Everton on Dec. 27, 2023, Pep Guardiola gave the following Kevin De Bruyne injury update.
"He’s close but he had fatigue," Guardiola said. "We have to be careful he’s been injured for three months like an ACL for six months, if you don’t handle the timings well, you get injured again.
"The injury was serious but he’s training with us. So positive and he’ll be back soon. I’d love him to play the next game or against Huddersfield but what is important is keeping him fit for a long time, not for one game or another."
How has Kevin de Bruyne’s injury impacted Man City?
It has been a massive blow for City as the treble winners from last season really need KDB’s leadership in midfield, especially after losing Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez in the summer.
The likes of Kovacic, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish have tried to plug the gap left by KDB’s absence but he is a player who is irreplaceable given his incredible unique quality and that's why City have struggled to control and close out plenty of games over the last few months.
Now that Kevin de Bruyne is almost back, City will surely kick on in the second half of the Premier League (just like they always do) and a rested and refreshed De Bruyne is bad news for the other title contenders.