Manchester City may have claimed their first silverware of the season on Sunday as they beat Arsenal 3-0 to lift the Carabao Cup, but Sky Blues manager Pep Guardiola revealed that defensive midfielder Fernandinho would be missing from their next couple of games due to a muscular injury he suffered during the second-half of their win at Wembley to take some sheen off their triumph.
“The next games I think he (Fernandinho) will be out. We will see on Monday the extent of the injury but it’s a big, big loss for us,” Guardiola was quoted as saying by the club website.
Fernandinho suffered the injury early on in the second-half and while he was immediately tended to by City’s medical staff, the Brazilian was unable to continue and was replaced by Bernardo Silva in the 52d minute.
The 32-year-old is widely regarded as one of the finest defensive midfielders in the English top-flight alongside N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) and Nemanja Matic (Manchester United).
And the fact that he was starting his 40th game of the season on Sunday reinforces the fact that the combative South American is a integral part of the Sky Blues squad.
While the Citizens are stocked with world-class options in almost every department, they do not have a like-for-like replacement for the former Shaktar Donetsk man.
City are on the verge of lifting the Premier League title as they hold 12-point lead over second-placed Manchester United despite having played a game less than their derby rivals.
The Sky Blues, however, have some testing fixtures lined up for they travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal again on Thursday before hosting Chelsea at the Etihad on Sunday.
As Fabian Delph is currently suspended for two more domestic games, Ilkay Gundogan is likely to start at the base of the midfield and perhaps veteran Yaya Toure could be called upon against Arsenal.
After their domestic fixtures against the London clubs, City welcome FC Basel for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 tie on March 7 with many claiming the tie to be a formality as the Sky Blues hold a commanding 4-0 lead.
Guardiola’s initial assessment makes Fernandinho touch-and-go for their Premier League clash with Stoke City (March 12), but a scan on Monday will provide a definitive update on Fernandinho’s return.