Manchester City have been dealt a big blow with the news that influential playmaker Kevin De Bruyne could be out for up to three weeks.

The Belgian star was forced off clutching his hamstring in the 59th minute of City's 2-0 win against Aston Villa on Wednesday.

And scans have revealed the 29-year-old has suffered a minor tear, with an estimated return date of between 14 to 21 days.

It comes at arguably the worst possible time for City, with Pep Guardiola's side seemingly just getting into their stride and climbing towards the summit of the table.

De Bruyne has been as important as ever for City, with the majestic playmaker creating 10 assists and scoring three goals in his 17 Premier League appearances so far.

Kevin De Bruyne is set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up an injury
Kevin De Bruyne is set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up an injury

However, Guardiola will be encouraged that both of his team's goals against Villa actually came after De Bruyne had gone off, showing that they still have more than enough firepower to overcome most sides without him.

Indeed, City's next few fixtures look fairly kind, and if De Bruyne is out for three weeks he is likely to be absent for the games against West Brom, Sheffield United and Burnley - three matches which City would surely expect to gain maximum points from with or without him.

However, De Bruyne will be facing a race against time to be fully fit again for the tricky following couple of matches versus Liverpool and Tottenham in early February - two games which could have a big implication on the title race.

The Manchester Derby is not long after, and it is fair to say overall City have an extremely tough spell over those few weeks, especially when you take into account a Champions League last-16 clash against Monchengladbach in late February too.

Pep Guardiola will be desperately hoping De Bruyne is back soon
Pep Guardiola will be desperately hoping De Bruyne is back soon

If they come through that run unscathed and get De Bruyne firing again, however, it would take a brave person to bet against them winning yet another Premier League title under Guardiola.

Man City's Premier League fixtures

Jan 26: West Brom (a)

Jan 30: Sheff Utd (h)

Feb 3: Burnley (a)

Feb 7: Liverpool (a)

Feb 13: Tottenham (h)

Feb 21: Arsenal (a)

Feb 27: West Ham (h)

Mar 6: Man Utd (h)

Mar 13: Fulham (a)

Feb 20: Wolves (h)