FEATURE | Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City’s key to winning a fourth consecutive Premier League title

Kevin de Bruyne’s return from injury has been a game-changer for Manchester City, amid a three-way battle for the Premier League title between Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal – and what is quite intriguing is that his return could be the title decider.

Manchester City struggle without Kevin de Bruyne

The Citizens struggled somewhat in the first-half of the season without the midfield maestro. As of Christmas Eve, when De Bruyne was still nursing a hamstring injury, Manchester City were fifth in the table, whilst Arsenal and Liverpool were six points and five points clear of them respectively.

The Belgian’s return helps City win games

The Manchester City midfielder marked his first appearance since his four-month hamstring injury, bagging an assist to see out a 5-0 win against Huddersfield in the FA Cup, before coming on as a substitute to inspire Manchester City to a 3-2 comeback against Newcastle with a goal and assist. And it has been a repeat of similar performances and results – influenced mostly by the Belgian.

After the game against Huddersfield, Pep Guardiola told BBC: “We are incredibly delighted to have him back, because Kevin helps to win games. It is so important to have him back after a long injury.”

Kevin de Bruyne’s stats since his return

De Bruyne has bagged two goals and five assists in the six matches he has played this season, despite coming on as a substitute on most occasions. He is as sharp as a player who has been fit for months.

Manchester City’s position in the title race

De Bruyne’s form has seen Manchester City become favourites to win the league again as they have won all their fixtures since he returned. They currently sit second in the table, with a game in hand that could see them dethrone Liverpool from the top spot.

Kevin de Bruyne’s impact in previous seasons

It’s no surprise that De Bruyne’s return may be the title decider. In previous seasons, the Belgian has been a protagonist in ensuring Manchester City secured league titles. The most crucial recent moment was in the 2021/2022 season, when he assisted İlkay Gündoğan, late in the game, to seal a 3-2 comeback against Aston Villa – a goal that decided the title as they finished one point above Liverpool.

Could Kevin de Bruyne inspire Manchester City to a record breaking season?

Manchester City have won the league for three consecutive seasons now. Another triumph this season will see them break Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United’s record (three times) for the most consecutive Premier League titles.

Arguably, the greatest midfielder the Premier League has ever seen, De Bruyne has put himself above many ‘Premier League greats’. If Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were still in their prime, De Bruyne is a player you might consider to come after them – due to his consistent performances over the years.

Get Football | Gideon Oluwaseun

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