If Manchester City’s seven goals in their seventh consecutive Premier League victory wasn’t enough to scare their championship rivals, there was also the sight of Kevin de Bruyne scoring again.
The 30-year-old Belgian’s season had been hampered by illness and injuries before his magnificent two-goal effort in City’s 7-0 annihilation of Leeds. He had been below his imperious best when he had played, but Tuesday’s brilliant display was a reminder of how good he is when he’s in top form – and how crucial he is to his side’s title defense.
City had risen to the top of the table largely without his assistance at the start of December, but he was inspirational as they thrashed Marcelo Bielsa’s team to move four points clear.
De Bruyne’s effect has been diminished this season, as evidenced by his zero assists, a striking contrast from last season.
De Bruyne’s lessened effect this season may be assessed in the number of assists he has provided – zero, compared to the 12 he had in 2020-21 and the record-tying 20 he had in 2019-20.
He didn’t break his duck against Leeds, but his goals either side of half-time equaled his season tally, and his all-round performance was brilliant – he had nine shots, four important passes, and his midfield distribution was as good as usual.
De Bruyne will be hoping to put an end to a dismal season thus far. He returned from the European Championship with an ankle injury, and after making his debut on the bench for Tottenham on the first day of the season in August, he didn’t play for another month before testing positive for Covid-19 in November.
Source: BBC Sport