Kevin De Bruyne: How Each Premier League Team Would Cope Without Their Star Man

Kevin De Bruyne faces up to four months on the sidelines
16:00, 16 Aug 2023

Manchester City have suffered a huge blow with the news that the hamstring injury Kevin De Bruyne sustained against Burnley could see him ruled out for up to four months of the season.

The Belgian midfielder’s absence will give Pep Guardiola a lot to think about in the coming months as they look to retain the Premier League title, but they certainly have enough resources at their disposal to cope while De Bruyne is sidelined.

This got us thinking, how would your Premier League side cope if your best player was out of action for several months?

Manchester City - Kevin De Bruyne (Impact - 2/5)

As we saw on Friday night, De Bruyne was replaced by summer signing Mateo Kovacic to partner Rodri in midfield. In terms of attacking output, City have two very talented youngsters in Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez to fill the De Bruyne-shaped hole in the side.

Arsenal - Martin Odegaard (Impact - 4/5)

Arsenal’s captain Martin Odegaard has been a commanding presence for Mikel Arteta in midfield and he is the link between defence and attack. The Norway international showed his worth last year with double figures for both goals and assists. If he were lost, Arteta would have a huge problem and Kai Havertz would have to try to fill the void.

Aston Villa - Ollie Watkins (Impact 4/5)

Unai Emery revitalised Ollie Watkins last term as the Aston Villa striker finished last season with 15 Premier League goals. His contributions helped carry the club into the top seven, and if he were to get injured it is hard to think of a player in the squad who could get as many goals as him.

Bournemouth - Philip Billing (Impact 5/5)

Bournemouth defied the odds last year to stay up comfortably in the Premier League. Midfielder Philip Billing was key to that as he was influential at both ends of the pitch, chipping in with seven goals. His versatility means he can adapt to many shapes and his composure would be sorely missed if he sustained a lengthy injury.

Brentford - Ivan Toney (Impact 4/5)

He may not be injured but Ivan Toney’s suspension until January is going to cause Brentford problems for the first half of the campaign. Thomas Frank has still got Toney’s strike partner Bryan Mbeumo and understudy Yoane Wissa to call upon, but if one of them were to get injured the Bees would be in a sticky situation.

Brighton & Hove Albion - Lewis Dunk (2/5)

Brighton captain Lewis Dunk brings so much composure and leadership to the Seagulls’ back line that fans would shiver at the thought of him suffering a serious injury. Knowing Brighton, though, it wouldn’t be as bad as people believe because their recruitment model means they will have an excellent replacement waiting in the wings.


Burnley - Josh Cullen (Impact 3/5)

Irish midfielder Josh Cullen has been key for Vincent Kompany at both Anderlecht and Burnley. His ability to dictate the tempo of matches helped the Clarets storm to the Championship title and will be crucial for them to make a splash in the Premier League. Josh Brownhill is a dependable understudy, mind.

Chelsea - Enzo Fernandez (Impact 2/5)

Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez looks to be coming into his own at Stamford Bridge this year after a stunning display against Liverpool last weekend. He will be a difficult profile to replace in the Blues’ midfield but Mauricio Pochettino would have many players to turn to in the meantime.

Crystal Palace - Eberechi Eze (Impact 5/5)

Eberechi Eze is one of the most exciting players to watch in the Premier League for his excellent dribbling abilities and his creativity. He really came to life at the end of last season, chalking up goals and assists. If Roy Hodgson were to lose his bright spark after the exit of Wilfried Zaha, the Eagles would find it difficult to soar.

Everton - Jordan Pickford (Impact 4/5)

Everton will be hoping not to be dragged into a third successive relegation dogfight but, if they are, they will need England international goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The number one has bailed out the Toffees more times than we can count and his influence on the pitch would be almost impossible to replace.

Fulham - Andreas Pereira (Impact 3/5)

Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira silenced many doubters last year in his debut campaign with Fulham. The former Manchester United midfielder registered 10 assists in the league for the Cottagers in 2022-23, establishing himself as a key figure in Marco Silva’s side.

Liverpool - Virgil van Dijk (Impact 5/5)

Centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been a stellar figure at Anfield since his arrival in 2018 and has helped Liverpool win all the major honours over the past few years. As we saw in 2020-21, the Reds’ back line had no structure while he was out injured and Jurgen Klopp cannot afford to lose the Dutchman this year as they chase a place in the top four.

Luton Town - Carlton Morris (Impact 5/5)

Striker Carlton Morris played a pivotal role in Luton’s promotion to the Premier League in 2022-23, scoring 20 goals in the Championship. He is already off the mark in the top flight and, as the Hatters’ main source of goals, an injury could throw their season into disarray.

Manchester United - Casemiro (Impact 5/5)

Despite getting sent off twice for Manchester United last year, Casemiro’s presence in midfield made a huge impact for the Red Devils. Whenever he was out of the side, United were so frail and easy to attack. The team was night and day depending on his availability status.


Newcastle United - Kieran Trippier (Impact 4/5)

Since his arrival in the north east, Kieran Trippier has been a commanding figure for Eddie Howe and Newcastle United. He offers a lot going forward and defensively and, if he were to get injured, summer arrival Tino Livramento would have huge boots to fill.

Nottingham Forest - Morgan Gibbs-White (Impact 5/5)

Nottingham Forest splashed the cash on Morgan Gibbs-White last summer from Wolverhampton Wanderers and it is safe to say it was money well spent. The midfielder’s goals and assists were crucial in keeping Forest in the Premier League and even the thought of him getting injured scares supporters.

Sheffield United - Anel Ahmedhodzic (Impact 4/5)

Defender Anel Ahmedhodzic quickly became a fan favourite at Sheffield United last year as he helped get the Blades back to the Premier League. The centre-back is a key figure for Paul Heckingbottom and crucial to his team’s survival chances. They would be in a real mess if they lost him.

Tottenham Hotspur - James Maddison (Impact 4/5)

A game into his new chapter at Tottenham Hotspur, James Maddison has already shown the fans what they have been lacking with two goals on his Premier League debut. His creativity is going to be integral to Ange Postecoglou’s philosophy and there is no other profile like his within the squad.

West Ham United - Lucas Paqueta (Impact 4/5)

Similarly to Maddison at Spurs, Lucas Paqueta’s creative abilities are going to be crucial for West Ham United this year, particularly with the loss of Declan Rice. The Brazilian started to acclimatise to English football towards the end of last season and David Moyes will be relying on him getting through the term unscathed.

Wolverhampton Wanderers - Mario Lemina (Impact 5/5)

Many questioned the signing at the time but Mario Lemina has been brilliant for Wolverhampton Wanderers in midfield. He started the season well against Manchester United on Monday and if he were to suffer an injury, Wolves don’t have a deputy who can do what he does in their ranks.

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