An ever-changing Premier League title race has taken another turn as talisman Kevin De Bruyne was ruled out of Manchester City for the next month.

City have improved from eight points behind Liverpool to four points ahead of the champions with one game and two points behind Manchester United before Christmas.

At the heart of City’s recent winning streak in nine consecutive games was De Bruyne, who played in his usual midfield position and also played as the false nine in the win against Chelsea.

It was De Bruyne’s brilliant assistant who helped City past the Crystal Palace, and he recently made his 100th assist in all competitions for City.

After a thigh injury against Aston Villa, De Bruyne is now out for four to six weeks, according to Pep Guardiola.

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Initial hopes were that De Bruyne would only miss two weeks of action, while the player himself said his injury was “just part of getting older”. However, the Belgian ruled out another assessment for a little longer.

That means he will definitely miss the crucial clash in Liverpool next month, followed by the home game against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham side. If De Bruyne is out for the maximum estimate of six weeks, he could also miss the next Manchester derby against United in March.

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These are City’s games for the next six weeks:

January 23 – Cheltenham (A – FA Cup)

January 26th – West Brom (A)

January 30 – Sheffield United (H)

February 3 – Burnley (A)

7 February – Liverpool (A)

February 10 – Swansea v Nottingham Forest (A-FA Cup fifth round, preliminary tie and date)

February 13 – Tottenham (H)

February 21 – Arsenal (A)

February 24 – Borussia Mönchengladbach (A – Champions League last 16 first leg)

February 27 – West Ham (H)

6 February – Manchester United (H)