De Bruyne deserves to beat Liverpool stars to Player of Year award

Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne's one-man show against Arsenal in Manchester City's 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday showed he is back to his very best again.

The Belgian’s superb timing in meeting Gabriel Jesus’ cross with a first-time piledriver into Bernd Leno’s net set the tone for a brilliant individual display.

Operating in a wide right role, he cut in and curled a left-footed effort into the far corner for his second, and was denied a sensational third only by an impressive full-stretch save from Leno midway through the first half.

It was classic De Bruyne and underlined why he should be a major candidate for both the PFA Player of the Year award and the FWA Footballer of the Year award at the end of the season.

Maybe it’s too soon to be talking about that with so much football still to be played. And maybe Liverpool fans will think they should provide all of the names on the shortlists when they come out in April, such has been the Reds’ dominance of the Premier League.

But let’s not forget that neither of the last two clubs to have won the treble – Manchester United’s famous one in 1999 and City’s domestic one last season – have provided the PFA award winner.

The players voted for David Ginola over Roy Keane, Dwight Yorke and co 20 years ago and Virgil van Dijk got the nod over De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and any number of other key contributors for the Citizens last term.

Often the fact that one team has several candidates can split the vote and see another player win the award and De Bruyne does look like the outstanding alternative to Jurgen Klopp’s Red Machine in 2019-20.

The ex-Wolfsburg star currently tops the charts for most Premier League assists (ten), chances created, big chances created (15) and key passes in the final third.

He is in the top five of some of the other major performance indicators for his position and, quite simply put, is the most creative player in the Premier League.

He could even still have a major say in the destination of the Premier League title if City can get their best defender Aymeric Laporte fit again to plug the holes behind him in the second half of the campaign.

City still believe they can overhaul the runaway leaders, according to De Bruyne.

“Are City still the best team? Well I think we are one of,” he said following his man-of-the-match display at the Emirates Stadium.

“Obviously we are not in the top position but it doesn’t undermine the qualities that we have. Whatever sport you play, it’s not the best team who always win but that doesn’t mean that Liverpool aren’t great, but I think we are up there with them but we didn’t perform to our level this year.”