The feeling coming away from the Etihad last Saturday was a strange one. West Ham produced a splendid defensive performance to thwart the Blues and end their impressive unbeaten run in the Premier League.
It was disappointing to lose of course, but bizarrely I don’t feel much, if any sort of, anger and rage towards the team. This was largely because City did do enough to win the game, but also because fans were treated to one of the best full debuts ever seen by a City player.
While the likes of Navas, Sterling and Aguero misfired, City’s latest recruit was incredible, instigating attacks and demanding the ball. It seemed crazy that he had stepped into a side already at the top of the tree, yet immediately took on the role as chief playmaker, doing so to great effect. He capped off a wonderful display with a fine low strike to reduce the deficit just before half-time and was the shining light throughout.
This Tuesday, De Bruyne continued where he left off with a superb display to sink Sunderland at the Stadium of the Light. He scored a fine goal after collecting the ball from Raheem Sterling, and then returned the favour by grabbing an assist when Sterling got in the act himself. The two have already struck up a real understanding and ripped Sunderland to shreds on many an occasion. The Black Cats’ backline must have been sick of the sight of De Bruyne floating around and influencing the game with so much ease.
Already he has proved to be a great asset for City, and when discussing the signing of Raheem Sterling, Pellegrini pointed to the fact that the player would bring “new characteristics to the team” and he spoke in similar fashion when City finally completed the long-awaited signing of Kevin De Bruyne.
He has certainly added another dimension to this City side. The penetration and precision in attack is something that was dearly missed last season and De Bruyne has already proved to be an attacking machine in the final third. The player himself has spoken about how he has changed dramatically since that forgettable stint at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho has given his take on what went wrong for the Belgian, citing problems with his mentality and attitude.
But there have been no signs of that so far at City. He has applied himself commendably, showing a real hunger and desire on and off the pitch. He has displayed bags of energy in games and presses defenders impressively – in fact he covered 13.29 kilometres of ground in the West Ham game, the second best tally for that weekend’s action. It’s refreshing to have someone who is so talented yet is not afraid to put a shift in for the team.
James Milner was applauded regularly for his incredible work ethic but De Bruyne’s numbers were superior in the last set of Premier League games and the Belgian is evidently more technically sound and effective. His pass selection and weight of pass is unbelievably good and gives City the impetus they need. A definite upgrade for sure.
One can only be delighted with what we have seen from De Bruyne at City so far. Two goals and an assist in just two full games tells the story, and yet he still hasn’t even played a full game with David Silva. It’s frightening just how fluent and deadly this City attack can be once all the pieces come together.
Kevin De Bruyne has quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite at Manchester City, and looks set to only continue his meteoric rise.