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How can Manchester City nullify De Bruyne's absence?

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960   //    24 Aug 2018, 08:10 IST

Kevin De Bruyne was in an imperious mood for Manchester City during the 2017 - 18 season. He assisted 16 goals and scored 8 in a season where Manchester City set different standards for the Premier League. Just as a testament, De Bruyne was awarded the Playmaker of the Season award, voted as the Manchester City Player of the Season and was selected in the PFA Team of the Year.

De Bruyne was one of the two brains that structured the City attack last season. Manchester City faces two kinds of teams - Teams that are brave to play their game with the ball (few in number) and teams that want to have three or four blocks of defensive lines to dent the City attack. Though, efficient and confident with teams using the latter strategy where patience is the key, De Bruyne was deadly with teams trying to express themselves.

Manchester City FC v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg
Kevin De Bruyne was instrumental in City's success this season

Once the opposition lost the ball while attacking, De Bruyne is exceptional at - avoiding the one-man press, exploiting the disjointed defensive shape and setting one of the many runners of City free with a pass. Add to this, the scoring range outside the box, physicality to maintain rhythm and the dead ball ability, he is one of the first names in the playing eleven.

De Bruyne suffered an injury in training, mid-August, damaging his ligament in the right knee. Fortunately, he avoided surgery but expected not to play for three months.

This is a psychological blow of sorts for City as they are gearing up to be the first team to retain the title for the first time in nearly a decade (local rivals, Manchester United were the last team to do so, in 2009). However, City has a well-oiled style, exceptional personnel and a world-class coach to deal with the case in hand.

Let's see the possible actions by City -

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