A goal suitable to win any match and he almost certainly won the 2021-22 season Premier League title. Kevin De BruyneHis sublime blow was a moment that was adequately reflected Manchester Cityan advantage that put the defending champions 13 points ahead of Chelsea after this 1-0 victory. As if to similarly point out that part of this lead is due to rivals ’own mistakes, Kepa Arrizabalaga might have fared better for the goal.
That shouldn’t detract from De Bruyne’s strike or City’s quality. Just like with a big lag at the top of the table and despite a close win, they were so much better than Chelsea.
Other numbers may say it better than a 1-0 score. City are now on their way to 97 points and have won 12 games in a row, making Guardiola responsible for four of the nine longest winning streaks in Premier League history.
His side, to quote the Catalan himself, “destroyed” the league. Here, the European champions were squeezed out of life before De Bruyne was released.
It was often masterful, albeit occasionally a bit mundane, for what could theoretically be termed a “title showdown”.
And that’s what City did to this league. With their complete dominance over the ball, they removed all the competitive tension from the top of the league and so many matches. However, this should not be a reason to exempt Chelsea. They were rightly declared the City’s main challenger, but they failed to do so. They now have 74 points on their own and seem to have lost a bit of the momentum they have gained in the last few games. Here again, they only had to position themselves in a way that was subordinate to the City.
The pattern of the game was therefore predictable and consequently quite boring for long sections. For the most part, City had the ball and wanted to force mistakes against Chelsea, who didn’t have the ball and waited for mistakes.
A long-standing lack of chemistry in individual fields on these otherwise super-funded sites, which initially prevented them from correcting these mistakes when they arrived.
City’s high line, of course, meant they left the space behind a few times, but it’s clear that Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech don’t understand each other yet. Christian Pulisic, meanwhile, seemed completely isolated, as if he had been removed from the system as much as most of the game. This meant that Chelsea’s breaks took place through Ziyech and Lukaku, but there were more than a few moments when there was only a break between them. Either the run was wrong or the pass was wrong.
In the first big moment of the match, Lukaku wanted to feed the playmaker inside only that his pass was spoiled, and Ziyech went offside anyway. Moments later, Ziyech tried to feed the Belgian, only to play an intermediate ball that was more like a return pass to Ederson.
Chelsea were obviously trying to play on the counter, so it was all the more surprising that Timo Werner didn’t start. When Ziyech slowed down another counterattack in the second half, Tuchel sent for Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
This happened when De Bruyne took advantage of the space Chelsea left behind.
It was a very instance that City’s best player showed them how it was done. The immediacy was almost as impressive as the divine nature of the conclusion.
Until then, it seemed as if Guardiola’s side was too consciously trying to work – not least Jack Grealish.
There is no doubt that the England international has a talent for exceptionally productive work when his coach’s personal approach finally falls through, but for now, that means all individuality and excitement has disappeared from his game.
He’s not exactly a player on a wave of confidence.
When Chelsea finally made a rare mistake in the first half and the otherwise refined Mateo Kovačič gave Grealish the ball, he was offered a chance he could easily finish at Aston Villa.
Instead, he struck as if almost in a hurry, though Kepa forced him to make a decision.
The goalkeeper was not so commanded for De Bruyne’s goal, although it was mostly about the majesty of the goal.
By then, City were approaching the goal without necessarily looking closer to scoring. They didn’t create many opportunities from the open game.
So De Bruyne decided to go from a distance.
When he picked up the ball just inside the half of Chelsea, the midfielder jumped forward, then bounced the ball past Kepa and into the corner.
The fact that he just skipped the midfielder, who was as dominant as Kante, highlighted the point and added an extra quality label to the goal.
That is the quality of the team.
Now they are certainly on their way to the eighth title in their history, and four are expected to come in half a decade under Guardiola’s leadership.
That says it all. De Bruyne’s blow largely decided everything.