The key man behind Manchester City and Belgium’s success

While new acquisition Erling Haaland’s athleticism, otherworldly anticipation and knack for finding the back of the net has taken the Premier League by storm – many are of the belief that Manchester City ultimately go as far as Haaland’s teammate Kevin De Bruyne takes them.

The Belgian midfielder has been a focal point of the City attack since joining in 2015 – and he has continued his exceptional form throughout the early stages of 2022/23 – amassing six assists and a goal in just seven appearances. In addition to his six assists this campaign, De Bruyne has recorded 25 ‘chances created’, eight of which were considered ‘big chances’ according to the Premier League’s own statistics.

His performances since the league kicked off in August are similar to that of last season, which saw him register 15 goals and eight assists en route to being named the ‘Premier League Player of the Season’. It’s further evidence as to why he is considered arguably the most creative player in the competition – and if he maintains this level of production – you would expect the Sky Blues to further shorten as favourites to secure back-to-back league titles.

For those who enjoy partaking in a football bet, Pep Guardiola’s squad are garnering odds of 1/3 – with their nearest competitor in the betting lines Liverpool a distant second at 9/1.

While winning the Premier League will surely be front of mind for the 31-year-old, there’s also an added individual incentive for De Bruyne to sustain his amazing play this season. He is presently on track to produce more assists than we have ever seen in a single Premier League season. De Bruyne currently holds the joint-record alongside Arsenal great Thierry Henry – with both men assisting on 20 goals in 2019/20 and 2002/03 respectively.

Before anyone suggests that De Bruyne’s unbelievable form has been solely a by-product of the Manchester City system and the array of talent that surrounds him – you only have to look at his performances for his country to understand that isn’t the case. He has assisted nine goals and scored two himself in 11 games for Belgium this year – and with the World Cup in Qatar just six weeks away – the Red Devils are a dark horse to take out the most coveted prize in football given the way De Bruyne is playing.

According to the latest football predictions, Belgium is the ninth nation most likely to win the World Cup. Meanwhile at the bookies, the Roberto Martinez-managed outfit are sitting at odds of 11/1 to hoist the Jules Rimet trophy at the time of writing. If De Bruyne can perform on the world’s biggest stage, it will go a long way at helping his case for the 2023 Ballon d’Or. If he were to come away with the game’s highest individual honour next year – it would mark the first time a player in the Premier League has achieved the feat since Cristiano Ronaldo did so in 2008 whilst a member of Manchester United.