Manchester City's title hopes have received a major blow with news of injury to Vincent Kompany ahead of their trip to Sunderland in the Premier League.
The Belgian suffered a hamstring injury against Southampton in their 3-0 win against Southampton on Sunday and should keep him out of the squad for the better part of this month. The Cityzens are already without Eliaquim Mangala who is suspended for the game after picking up two bookings against the Saints.
The absence of key players in the back has left Manuel Pellegrini worried, who is likely to rely on Bacary Sagna to fill the gap at the centre-back. Originally deployed on the right, Sagna has experience playing in the centre for Arsenal, where he was used to fill up a make shift back four, to good effect.
Martin Demichellis is expected to slot in beside Sagna, but a lack of match sharpness for either player may act in the detriment of the Champions, who cannot afford to drop any more points if they have to close the gap on Chelsea for the title. Matija Nastasic, who could have been slotted in at centre-back, has also been ruled out due to injury, leaving the Chilean with little options.
"Silva, Dzeko and Aleks Kolarov continue to be injured. About Vincent Kompany, we will know this afternoon [Tuesday] exactly what he has. He has an injury in his hamstring but we will see how long it will be," Pellegrini said.
"Unfortunately for him [Nastasic], he is again injured. He has two long injuries this season. He has a muscle injury in his thigh. I don't know if he will be able to work with the squad for one week more so he is not an option for [Sunderland]," he added.
Sunderland will be buoyed by their performance against the Blues last weekend, where they held Jose Mourinho's unbeaten team to a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light and will be confident that they can replicate their performance against City, who are likely to invite pressure given they have to add more protection to their back four.