Manchester City will be without captain Vincent Kompany for the derby against Manchester United on Sunday (20 March) after being ruled out for at least four weeks following the recurrence of a calf injury. Kompany went off after just seven minutes of the Champions League draw with Dynamo Kiev after suffering an injury to the leg muscle for the 14th time in his City career, and the third occasion this season.
City will discover later this week the full extent the latest blow which occurred after just five minutes as Kompany won the ball from Dynamo forward Oleh Gusev. The Belgium international kicked the ball out of play and immediately sank to the turf, gesturing to the bench that he required treatment.
Though City did reach their first ever Champions League quarter-final, the achievement was marred by the loss of Kompany and injury to Nicolas Otamendi who was also substituted during the first half. The Argentine centre-back suffered a dead leg and was taken off after 24 minutes but Pellegrini is hopeful he will be fit for the visit of United on Sunday.
"About the injuries, Nicolas Otamendi has an important kick I think and that may be a couple of days, he may recover," Pellegrini said, according to Sky Sports. "We will see how that develops over the next day. Vincent again has a muscle injury, in his calf the same problem that he had before. We will know tomorrow or the day after tomorrow however important is it. But with muscle injuries the minimum is one month.
"It is difficult for me in this moment to say [if Kompany will be out for the rest of the season]. But having a problem with his calf, we're in the middle of March so the middle of April at least. You always take a risk but the work in the week is also a risk. He recovered without any problem, it was the sixth game and he didn't feel any problem before the game I don't think it was a risk."
Though Demichelis' absence is not expected to be lengthy, the blow suffered by Kompany is another blow to City's hopes of adding further silverware this term having won the Capital One Cup in February. The draw with Norwich led to City falling 12 points behind leaders Leicester, a result which also throws their place in next season's Champions League into doubt with West Ham and United in hot pursuit.
Injuries to the pair raises the concerning prospect of Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis – who finished the 0-0 draw with Dynamo at the centre of the City back-four – starting the game against United. City were thrashed 4-1 by Liverpool the only time the pair have been partnered together this season.
With City expected to be soft-centred, United will likely seek to expose this area of weakness. Anthony Martial will lead United's attack at the Etihad Stadium and former defender Gary Pallister says the French forward has a unique "fear factor".
"There's huge expectation on him but he's got that pace and you can see defenders are worried when he's on the ball, especially when he's got big enough space to run at them," he said, according to the Manchester Evening News. "He's got a fear factor for a lot of defenders and he's got the strength as well. He's by no means the finished product and he's still got much to learn but with the pace and physicality he's got makes it ideal for him."