Kevin De Bruyne underlined his status as the best playmaker in modern English football by producing another masterclass against Arsenal. Manchester City are storming towards their third successive Premier League title, and their 4-1 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night puts them within two points of the Gunners at the top of the table, with two games in hand.
Champions rise to the pressure of the occasion, and that is precisely what Pep Guardiola’s team did while Mikel Arteta’s men folded. Kevin De Bruyne led City’s charge, as he has so often done down the years.
In summary, City’s victory was a testament to their championship-winning credentials, with Kevin De Bruyne once again proving to be the star player. In central midfield, just seven minutes into the game, Kevin De Bruyne received a pass from Erling Haaland before driving at the Arsenal defence and firing a perfectly placed shot past Aaron Ramsdale at his near post.
Kevin De Bruyne then provided an exquisite free-kick delivery for John Stones to double Manchester City‘s lead, showcasing his skills as a provider. In the second half, he scored another clever low shot after good work from Haaland, finishing off Arsenal early.
While Haaland broke Mohamed Salah’s Premier League goals record in stoppage time, this was De Bruyne’s night. Numerous world-class midfielders have left a lasting impact on the English top-flight, from Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
However, City’s midfielders such as David Silva and Yaya Toure have also earned their place among the greats. Still, De Bruyne stands above them all. The Belgian maestro is a unique genius who comes along once in a generation. His legacy will endure long after he eventually hangs up his boots.
Genius-Level IQ and All-Round Ability – Kevin de Bruyne The Ideal Footballer
Kevin De Bruyne stands out on the pitch because he sees things that nobody else can. He is a highly accomplished ‘scanner’, always assessing the options and space around him well before receiving the ball. This allows him to cause maximum damage when he gets the ball.
City’s success under Pep Guardiola has relied heavily on De Bruyne’s inventiveness in the middle of the park, as he’s been the go-to man for something special against teams that sit back in a low block.
Kevin De Bruyne has no equal when it comes to control and technique, and his decision-making in the final third is always exemplary. Even under pressure, he has the spatial awareness, skill, and explosive turn of pace to open up teams in an instant, and his team-mates always expect him to make a decisive contribution.
According to Bernardo Silva, “Kevin is a very specific player in terms of when he has got the ball, you know that something can happen. If I have the ball or [Ilkay] Gundogan has the ball, it is completely different. It is like a click and a moment where Kevin has the ball, so Phil [Foden], Jack [Grealish], Riyad [Mahrez], Erling, etc. are running in behind because they know the ball can go there. He is a very special player, and he has been doing well, not just this season but for a very, very long time.”
Kevin De Bruyne’s right foot may be his primary weapon, but he’s equally comfortable on his left, and his versatility has been crucial for City during their recent dominance of English football.
Guardiola has asked the Belgium international to play in various positions, including as a traditional No.10, deep-lying playmaker, right-sided No.8, and false nine. No matter what role he’s given, De Bruyne can always adapt seamlessly.
De Bruyne’s intelligence and maturity make him a complete midfielder, and the scary thing is that, at 31 years old, he only seems to be getting better with age.
Pep’s perfect student
When Manchester City paid £55 million to sign Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg in 2015, many people were skeptical about whether he could succeed in the Premier League.
He had previously failed to make an impact at Chelsea, and some pundits, including Arsenal legend Paul Merson, suggested that the Bundesliga was an easier league to play in.
In his column for the Daily Star, Merson stated, “Manchester City paying so much money for Kevin De Bruyne is an absolute joke. Okay, he’s had a good season in Germany. But there are only a few decent clubs there really, aren’t there? It’s not the Premier League.”
His words were made to be eaten, as Kevin De Bruyne helped City win the League Cup and reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time ever in his first season at the Etihad, recording nine goals and 27 assists across all competitions.
Although City only finished fourth in the league, Manuel Pellegrini was sacked to make way for Guardiola. De Bruyne had already silenced his doubters, but few could have predicted just how good he would become under the Spaniard’s stewardship.
After seeing him shine during a 4-0 victory against Bournemouth in September 2016, the former Barcelona boss said: “When we talk about [Lionel] Messi, maybe he can sit alone at the table, with no-one else allowed. But at the table beside, Kevin can sit there.”
In his first season in Manchester, Pep Guardiola was unable to deliver a trophy, but he managed to figure out a winning formula. City emerged as champions of the 2017-18 season, breaking the record for the most points in a single season (100), with De Bruyne emerging as the most important player in the team ahead of Silva and Sergio Aguero.
After missing the majority of the following season due to injury, Kevin De Bruyne recovered in time to help City down the finishing stretch, and he spoke candidly about Guardiola’s influence on his career.
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