Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed Sergio Aguero will be out of action for up to a month after suffering a hamstring injury in the win over Tottenham on Wednesday night.
It means the striker will miss Premier League matches against Chelsea, Norwich, Sunderland and Stoke, as well as the FA Cup fifth-round tie with Chelsea and the first leg of City’s Champions League last 16 match with Barcelona.
Aguero will also be in a race against time to be match fit for the League Cup final with Sunderland at the beginning of March.
Speaking at City's Carrington training complex ahead of Monday's match with Chelsea at the Etihad, Pellegrini told reporters:
Injuries are Samir Nasri, who continues with treatment, Javi Garcia and Kun Aguero. The three of them.
The doctor is seeing [how long Aguero will be out for], maybe one month but we are not sure absolutely now, at the moment.
Sergio is just coming back from an injury when he could not play for a month, and all the other strikers - Alvaro, Edin Dzeko and now Stevan Jovetic - replaced him, so I hope they continue the same way. But, I repeat, we lose the most important player at the club.
It’s a huge blow to City, who retain an interest in four competitions and are set for a busy period of important fixtures.
Aguero had only just come back from a month out with a calf injury, a period in which he missed eight games. Despite his absence, City fared well, winning seven and drawing one. They will need to repeat that form during the next four weeks without him if they are to remain in contention for four trophies.
Aguero could miss: Chelsea (H), Norwich (A), Sunderland (H), Chelsea (H - FA Cup), Barcelona (H), Stoke (H), Sunderland (League Cup Final)— Manchester City News (@ManCityMEN) January 31, 2014
The injury comes with Aguero in wonderful form, having scored seven goals in his last five games. Wednesday’s first-half performance against Tottenham was one of his best for the club before injury ruined his night.
However, City have the squad to cope without him. Alvaro Negredo, who rested at Spurs after picking up a minor shoulder injury, has been a revelation, scoring 23 goals in 33 games in all competitions. He will once again be expected to be City's main striker, a role he's more than capable of fulfilling.
Negredo has many qualities that make him difficult to mark. He possesses strength and pace, and has excellent technique and vision—the perfect foil for any of City's forwards.
Despite a poor showing on Wednesday at White Hart Lane, Edin Dzeko has been much improved since the turn of the year, and he will now be looking to continue his run in the side by adding to his 17 goals this season.
The return of Stevan Jovetic provides City with another option. He has been riddled with injuries since signing for the club but has featured in the last three games as a substitute. He scored a good goal against Tottenham and looked confident given his troubles.
Jovetic is a player capable of dropping deep and playing between the lines, pulling defenders out of position and creating space for others. He's a very intelligent player, and City will need him to prove himself between now and the end of the season.
Losing Aguero is a cruel blow to City. He is arguably the best forward in the league and a vital player to this City side, but they can cope with his absence. It's time, once again, for City's other attacking players to shine.
All quotes obtained firsthand
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.