Manchester City put out an astonishing £300M worth of players in the starting XI with the £55m new man Kevin de Bruyne making his first Premier League start of the season. On a day where the Premier League leaders were expected to cruise to victory, Slaven Bilic’s men though, had other ideas, taking a 2-0 lead in the first half. Star man Kevin de Bruyne pulled one back with a finely taken goal before half-time but West Ham held on, to complete a stunning hat-trick of away wins. They’re turning into some sort of away specialists as three of their four wins have come away from home and how? At the expense of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City! West Ham were a staggering 1275/1 to win all three games before the season started.
Having played in the league before with Chelsea, de Bruyne took less time settling in as he looked at home right from the word go. Silva’s injury in the warm up meant de Bruyne had to play the number ten role for City.
“I can play the three positions. Obviously, even if I am on the No.10 I change position so much. I think you need to do that if you play against teams like West Ham who are defending with nine men.”
He was at the heart of every City attack, influencing the game from all over the pitch, especially in the second half when City were chasing the game, bombarding the West Ham box and creating chances at will.
de Bruyne’s 98 touches have mostly come in the middle third, pulling the strings as City created chance after chance, having spent the entire second half inside West Ham’s area. The Belgian had a pass accuracy of 81%, having completed 57 out of of 70 passes while a staggering 42 passes were attempted forward with an accuracy of 75%. He also scored City’s only goal of the game with a finely taken low shot past Adrian from just outside the area, scoring with his first shot on target. He had four shots overall, two of which were blocked.
His influence on the pitch was such that he made sure David Silva wasn’t missed.
“I can only get better if I play with great players. This team has a lot of great players. I think when I know the team a bit better I will get even more of the ball I am adapting well to the team. It is just the beginning so I don’t feel any pressure. I just try to play my game.”
…Said de Bruyne after the game. Forget Silva, de Bruyne could be the man for City in their pursuit of their third league title in four years with more performances like that during the course of the season.