Manchester City enjoyed a 5-0 win over Liverpool in Saturday lunchtime’s Premier League meeting, with midfielder Kevin de Bruyne being named Man of the Match for his performance.
The Belgian international impressed as the Sky Blues put the Cherries to the sword, and his start to the new season could hardly have gone any better.
De Bruyne a key component of the Man City side
The former Chelsea midfielder has shone in a deeper role than his usual advanced playmaker position, playing every minute of every Premier League game under Pep Guardiola this season alongside David Silva. Previously de Bruyne was utilised as an attacking-midfielder and occasional wide man, but he’s been sensational as a conventional central midfielder, being at the heart of every Manchester City move.
With his range of passing, brilliant vision and good decision-making, the 26-year-old has all the necessary attributes to help City control possession and turn defence into attack at the flick of a switch. Against Liverpool, no player created more chances, while only Nicolas Otamendi made more tackles than de Bruyne.
Given the freedom to be more bold in possession, the midfielder whipped in eight crosses with a 63% completion ratio, boasting a 100% success rate from his long passes in the game, in addition to also slicing the Reds’ defence with three through balls – all this despite making fewer touches than fellow midfielders Fernandinho and David Silva.
Where he ranks among the Premier League’s best playmakers
De Bruyne’s bright start to the season sees him as one of the most effective playmakers in the Premier League. Only Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan has registered more assists and made more through balls, only four players in the top-flight have created more chances, only Burnley’s Robbie Brady has completed more crosses, but de Bruyne stands alone with the most completed corners.
On the ball, he’s brilliant at picking out a teammate, and has also shown real industry since playing as a central midfielder for Manchester City, averaging a tackle or interception every 36 minutes and is reportedly yet to give away a foul. Of his nine shots taken, only one has been fired off target, highlighting that the Belgian doesn’t waste possession cheaply.
Manchester City are 5/4 to win the Premier League title this season. If they can keep de Bruyne fit, can the Sky Blues do it? Guardiola has transformed the 26-year-old into one of the best midfielders in the league, making the most out of every facet to give the side added creativity and control.
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