Kevin De Bruyne is facing up to four weeks out of action with a hamstring injury in a massive blow to Manchester City.

De Bruyne was forced off with the issue during Wednesday's 2-0 win over Aston Villa, which took City top of the Premier League, before they were replaced by local rivals Manchester United.

After assessing De Bruyne, City's medical staff believe his likely absence to be between two and three weeks.

But they have not ruled out him being sidelined for slightly longer.

There is no appetite at City to rush De Bruyne's rehabilitation and risk losing him for longer if he returns to action before the injury has fully healed.

That means De Bruyne will miss tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Cheltenham, a game he was always likely to sit out anyway.

Kevin de Bruyne was substituted injured against Villa

He will also miss Premier League fixtures against West Brom, Sheffield United, Burnley and almost certainly City's trip to title rivals Liverpool on February 7.

Pep Guardiola's side then play Tottenham and Arsenal in the league, with the hope De Bruyne, their most influential player, with three goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season, will have recovered and be available for both encounters.

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Pep Guardiola said little about De Bruyne's injury after the Villa win, stating simply: “Kevin put his hand on his leg, so I have the feeling it will be something muscular."

De Bruyne now faces a race against time to be fit for their crunch meeting with Liverpool at Anfield next month.

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