The strongest proof of how incredible this era was for Manchester City is that their season now carries an air of despair. A painful defeat in the FA Cup semi-final against their foil club, Liverpool, and an even more painful defeat in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, has come to a halt on this Sky Blue campaign. And yet, with Liverpool dropping points over the weekend and Man City’s big win against Wolverhampton on Wednesday, those “disappointing” men are in commanding position to claim another Premier League title, their fourth in six years.
Frustration about the Champions League is real, as the club has now resolved the need for a new superstar, none other than Arling Holland. But it’s always important to keep things in mind: Man City has had another great year, and a big part of it has come from their current superstar Kevin de Bruyne, who is irrational.
When pundits and fans call De Bruyne the best player in the league, they are talking about a game like his on Wednesday against the Wolves, where he scored four goals in City’s 5-1 win. Belgium was in goal-hunting mode from the beginning. His first goal came from a give-and-go with Bernardo Silver that put him in a tight corner for a low roller for the Wolves goalkeeper Jose Saye. That same goalkeeper gave his second gift to de Bruyne, as he mostly gave Raheem Sterling a ball that bounced straight into the Belgian’s feet. The third goal was a thunderclap from De Bruyne’s left foot as he entered the top of the box and fired a laser past S6 for a 24-minute hat-trick:
His fourth goal of the day puts a perfect surprise on the whole thing, again showing that De Bruyne is one of the smartest movers in the league. Excluding the surprise strike in the third goal, his other goals on Wednesday were the result of his constant movement in the goal-scoring position, even if he did not aim for a specific move. This is what everyone needs before the back line of Manchester City due to the lack of a traditional striker. The City system relies on patient build-up and picture-perfect movement in the open, and there is no one more suitable for both sides of this equation than De Bruyne.
City’s 17th major reason is that the team has been able to prevent recent FA Cup and Champions League failures from affecting their league form. Since losing in that FA Cup semifinal, the scoreline for City’s Premier League matches has been as follows: 3-0 win over Brighton, 5-1 win over Watford, 4-0 win over Leeds United, 5-0 win over Newcastle and 5 against Wolves on Wednesday. 1 goal win. De Bruyne had five assists and four goals in those five matches. The fact that he was directly involved with City’s 41 per cent goal in this stretch is eye-popping, but he is doing it better at his tail end which could have been seen as a disappointing personal campaign.
During the summer, de Bruyne returned to Man City clearly tired from the Euros after Belgium reached the quarter-finals and showed it. In the 2021 part of the season, he scored as many (five) goals as he could in the sub-45 minutes. More worrying for the best playmaker to run his craft in England, he had no league assist at the start of the new year. Although the change of calendar has brought back the best de Bruyne. Since then he has 10 goals and seven assists and has the potential to add another winning medal in the near future.
The greatness and continuity of Kevin de Bruyne — and, more broadly, Manchester City গভীর is so profound that they tend to meet expectations and needs. Goals, assists, wins, even titles become normal over time and the bar of success can always be inches higher. The great season of one year is the disappointment of the next year, even if intentionally the results are more or less the same.
Of course, no one should cry for the fate of De Bruyne or Man City. You sign up for it at the very top of the game and especially with a club at such a height only because of the increased funding of the acquired wealth of an authoritarian country, it is impossible to feel “bad” about a rational application. Unjust value of success. Yet, as a soccer fan, it is worthwhile to take a step back from our own interests, sometimes narratives and expectations, and everything that can cloud our vision, and take a closer look at what is real. In this case, what you will see is Kevin de Bruyne dispelling the opposition in a fashion that will blow your mind if you are not already accustomed to it.