MANCHESTER CITY’S hopes of defending their title against Arsenal have taken a huge blow.
That’s after star defender Ruben Dias was ruled out of action for at least a month.
The centre-back, 25, reportedly picked up a thigh injury while on World Cup duty with Portugal.
But instead of taking time out, he then played the entirety of Portugal’s quarter-final defeat to Morocco just days later.
And Dias is now looking at a return to action in February, dealing Pep Guardiola a big blow at the back.
The 2021 Prem Player of the Season will miss City’s crunch league clashes against Manchester United and Chelsea.
And he will also be sidelined for City’s FA Cup battle against the latter, as well as the Carabao Cup quarter against Southampton.
Guardiola must now decide how to shuffle his pack, with plenty of options still at his disposal.
John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji all featured in last night’s Carabao win over rivals Liverpool.
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But none are quite able to match the unique blend of strength, pace and leadership Dias brings to City’s backline.
A £60million buy from Benfica in 2020, Dias has gone on to make 109 appearances for the champions.
He’s already won back-to-back titles under Guardiola.
But with City already five points off leaders Arsenal this term, his side cannot afford any more slip-ups at a key stage of the campaign.