De Bruyne Consistency Key to City's Hopes
By Terry McCulloch, Fri 08 September 2017 16:02
Belgian midfielder is arguably Premier League's most complete footballer
It might not have been the busiest summer in terms of player recruitment but the Manchester City first team that lined up at the start of this season was significantly different to the one that ended the last one. As well as the departure of a host of first-team players, Pep Guardiola was able to bring in five new faces to freshen up his squad. While the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has further stamped his mark on this City squad, this team of world-class players is now somewhat lacking in experience, something that is crucial to winning the Premier League.
Following such significant changes to the first team, one thing that will be essential this season for City will be leadership. While nobody can doubt the influence and experience of Vincent Kompany, we've seen over the past couple of seasons that the City skipper can't be relied upon to get through a full campaign without having to spend significant spells on the sidelines with injury. Kevin De Bruyne might not be the same sort of leader as Kompany in terms of motivating his team-mates through his words, but the Belgian's consistent performances make him a leader in a different way.
There is a strong argument to suggest that De Bruyne is the Premier League's most complete footballer. The midfielder has emerged as not only one of the most creative players in the world, but also one of the most consistent. For a City team that many are tipping for the title, priced at around 7/5 with the latest Premier League odds, leadership will be key over the course of a long domestic season. In De Bruyne, City have someone who they know is going to be at an 8/10 in the majority of his performances. Competing for honours both domestically as well as in the Champions League, the playmaker is arguably the most important part of this team.
Following his move from Wolfsburg to City in 2015, De Bruyne has gone on to establish himself as a key part of this City team, with Guardiola building much of his team around the creative attacking midfielder. Last season, the 26-year-old recorded the most assists in the Premier League with 18, adding six goals in a sensational personal campaign for the Belgium international. With the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and even Phil Foden, De Bruyne's experience of producing match-winning performances on a consistent basis will be important not only for this season's title hopes, but also helping the squad's younger players.
It's been a solid if unspectacular start to the season for City, but Guardiola's team have laid down an early marker to the rest of the league. After getting to know the league last season, Guardiola knows this year is when his entire managerial career will be questioned. If he can deliver the Premier League title, though, Guardiola will have then led teams to the league title in three countries - probably cementing his reputation as one of the best in the business.
"Kevin De Bruyne" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by theglobalpanorama