Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero could be out for up to eight weeks with a calf injury, Manuel Pellegrini revealed, via Stuart James of The Guardian. If that prognosis ends up being correct, Aguero would miss the first leg of City’s Champions League last 16 match with Barcelona in February.
Speaking after the 3-1 win at Leicester City in the Capital One Cup quarter-final, Pellegrini said, via James:
“I am not a doctor so it is very difficult [to say how long Aguero could be out]. The doctor has said he has at least one month or eight weeks... I don’t know how many weeks but it will be at least one month.”
It’s a huge blow to City, a team trying to balance involvement in multiple competitions, with the Premier League title race entering an important period, as well as their Champions League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup involvement.
Aguero has scored 19 goals in 20 appearances this season and has arguably been their most important player. In tandem with Alvaro Negredo, he has been in the form of his life, and his absence during a period which sees a run of important matches will be damaging.
City will either bring in Edin Dzeko, who scored two goals in City’s win over Leicester, to partner Negredo, or play Silva just off the front man with Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri on the wings.
Stevan Jovetic has returned to full training and was set to be on the bench for City’s match at the King Power Stadium, but an illness meant he was unavailable and City named just six substitutes.
Jovetic fell ill an hour before game and City had no other outfield players to put on bench— Stuart Brennan (@StuBrennanMEN) December 17, 2013
His time at City has been severely hampered by a series of niggling injuries, but if he can get himself match fit, he could well see some action in the coming weeks. He is capable of playing as a striker or as a withdrawn forward, and that versatility will be useful to City should he remain healthy.
City are also struggling for a right-back after Pablo Zabaleta limped off after 12 minutes of Tuesday night's match, per the Manchester Evening News' Rob Dawson. With Micah Richards already out for a month, City face going into Sunday's match without a recognised right-back. James Milner, who continues to impress when called upon, may be pressed into emergency action there at Craven Cottage.
It was Dedryck Boyata who replaced Zabaleta against Leicester, but he has often looked short of the quality needed in the Premier League. Milner, who has played right-back before, would seem like the more sensible option for Saturday's match.
City have had an excellent 10 days, with wins of Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Leicester showcasing their squad strength and talent. They will now need to dig deep over the next few matches without two of their most influential players.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.