Manchester City will be without Vincent Kompany for yet another month after the Belgian had to come off against Sunderland on Boxing Day with another calf problem. The defender managed only nine minutes on the pitch after coming on as a second-half substitute, dealing yet another massive blow to their title hopes.

The Citizens have kept seven clean sheets in the eight games Kompany has played in the league this season, but have managed only one without him, which came against Leicester City in a thrilling stalemate at the King Power Stadium. Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi have failed to live up to expectations thus far, with the former's mistake leading to Arsenal's second goal before Christmas, which effectively killed the game for City.

Kompany joins Samir Nasri as the second player to be unavailable from the City ranks in the busy line-up, but the timely return of Sergio Aguero and David Silva have massively boosted their attack. Pellegrini confirmed that the player, who has a second degree tear in his calf, will not return before three to four weeks.

"Vincent has an injury, a second degree tear of the calf. We will see how long he will be out, but I don't think it will be less than 3-4 weeks. I am not a doctor, but with a muscle injury, it will be very difficult for him to be back in less than four weeks. But without him, we must continue to defend as did tonight," Kompany said after their draw against Leicester, as quoted by the Telegraph.

However, the manager has refused to rule themselves out of contention for the title. They are currently three points behind league toppers Arsenal going into the New Year. The Gunners had a chance to open up a six-point advantage at the top, but they fluffed their lines against Southampton where they were thrashed 4-0.

"I don't think you are going to win the title in December. At the end of January, first week of February, maybe we can see who will be the teams involved in the fight for the title," he added. "I think we are tending to be a solid and consistent team. I am sure that in the second round we are going to be involved till the end for the fight for the title."