Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, the top player in the Premier League and one of the best in the world, was injured and stretchered off in stoppage time of Manchester City’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace.
Moments after Palace missed a penalty that could have ended City’s unbeaten run, De Bruyne helped spring a counterattack, and as he released a pass, the Belgian midfielder was hacked down by Jason Puncheon.
Look at this puncheon tackle on de bruyne pic.twitter.com/JDj4IJOsGr
— Sazi⚡️ (@Anasaziiiii) December 31, 2017
The counterattack was allowed to continue, and resulted in a Manchester City free kick just outside the box. Puncheon – who was also injured in the challenge, and also carried off on a stretcher – was shown a yellow card after the play, according to match statistics.
De Bruyne was treated on the field and carried to the side of the pitch on a stretcher. His right leg was wrapped in an air cast.
After the field had cleared, De Bruyne was seen walking back to the City locker room with his arms around the shoulders of two City staff members on either side of him. He was able to put partial weight on his right leg.
— Simone Eterno (@Simon_Forever) December 31, 2017
— Nick Godwin (@NickGodwinsport) December 31, 2017
City manager Pep Guardiola did not offer any concrete update on the severity of De Bruyne’s injury in his post-match news conference.
De Bruyne, though, was reportedly walking under his own power after being helped down the tunnel.
Just been told De Bruyne is walking unaided after being assisted down tunnel. Jesus out for 1-2 months. #MCFC
— Stuart Brennan (@StuBrennanMEN) December 31, 2017
Gabriel Jesus was also injured for City in the 0-0 draw, which ended an 18-match Premier League winning streak.
Guardiola indicated Jesus would like be out 1-2 months. The Brazilian striker was seen leaving Selhurst Park on crutches, with a brace on his left leg.
With the draw, City went 14 points clear at the top of the league. So the biggest worry will be the two injuries, not the two points dropped.
If Jesus were to miss significant time, Guardiola could rely on Sergio Aguero, but would lack depth behind the Argentine.
If De Bruyne were to miss significant time, Ilkay Gundogan would presumably become a regular alongside David Silva and Fernandinho in midfield.
But De Bruyne – who possesses the playmaking skill of a No. 10 and the work rate and tenaciousness of a No. 8 – has no like-for-like replacement in the City squad, nor in world football. Any absence could interrupt City’s dominance. And while it might not matter in the Premier League, it would assuredly hinder City’s run at a Champions League title.
The Citizens host Watford in their next Premier League match on Tuesday. They then host Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday before a league trip to Liverpool the following weekend.
This story will be updated if and when more information on De Bruyne becomes available.
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