Pep Guardiola’s plan therefore worked wonderfully. With this little freelance on the bench, the master to play was bitten by the Catalan. Objective: to remobilize it. Mission accomplished with this 12th assist in the Premier League and the 17th in all competitions. Which makes him the best passer in all of the five major European championships.
By placing De Bruyne on the bench against Tottenham, Guardiola sent a strong signal: “We lack the passion, the fire and the desire to win”
|Players||Club – Pays||Assists||Matches|
|De Bruyne||Manchester City – Angleterre||12||19|
|Colonel Muani||Frankfurt – Germany||11||15|
|Kvaratskhelia||Napoli – Italy||9||15|
Not enough to satisfy Pep Guardiola, however. The former Barca boss assured that seeing KDB on the bench could happen again. Especially when he wants to put a little more weight on the attack of the Citizens. “Like every season, we have a lot of meetings”, explained Guardiola at a press conference. “Sometimes we need a different type of player in attacking positions. In some games we are short of players in the box and Kevin struggles a bit there.”
Facing the Londoners, it was Julian Alvarez who was chosen in place of the Red Devil. A very different profile. The Argentinian evolves as a second striker and has turned around Haaland. A mission he fulfilled brilliantly since he sounded the revolt by reducing the gap to 1-2 to finally win 4-2. Proof also that City can win big games without KDB in the eleven and that the coach has another string to his bow.
Can Pep Guardiola really do without KDB?
If anyone knows how to handle Kevin de Bruyne, it’s Pep Guardiola. After the game against Wolves, the manager also said that “his pass was fantastic”. In short, there is nothing to worry about… even if you should certainly not rest on your laurels.
The proof with Ruben Dias. Absolutely essential since his arrival in 2020, he has seen Akanji pass him by this season. A total surprise. The Portuguese wore the armband last year while the Swiss landed at the very end of the summer transfer window. Admittedly, the former Benfica defender plays, but his status has been weakened. Thus, it is only the… thirteenth playing time of the workforce. Which proves one thing: Pep Guardiola will not hesitate to make his choices if he thinks it’s better for his collective. If the tactic requires it, KDB will end up on the bench. “With Kevin, you always expect him to provide assists”, Guardiola continued. “But how many offerings are not converted? Against Wolves, he played a good 75 minutes. But there is great competition in the team and we have to continue. Some matches require specific profiles and sometimes Kevin struggles a bit.”
Guardiola wants to rotate his squad
Between Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne, this is a real love story. “For seven years, we have known each other very well. I know when Kevin is ready and sometimes not. It’s normal”he also said for the Manchester Evening News.
Guardiola’s liabilities with his player and his statistics therefore lead to optimism. Last year, Pep Guardiola was very smart in handling the DB case. Bad at the start of the season and not physically fit, the midfielder had only played two full games during the first sixteen days.
The Catalan granted him time to return. With the result that everyone knows: KDB was voted the best player in the Premier League by being repositioned as a false nine. Between August and early December, he had scored 2 goals for 0 assists. He then dotted the i’s with 13 goals and 8 assists in the next 20 games.
After his new caviar against Wolves, John Stones praised the qualities of his teammate. “It does not surprise me that he is the best passer in the league and in Europe”, started the England international. “But one should not underestimate his quality and this achievement. Wherever the ball is on the pitch, it will create goalscoring opportunities. That’s why he’s a world-class player. Because he never stops inventing things.”
Better than anyone, Guardiola knows that a season is very long. He will therefore need the Red Devil to fulfill his objectives. The management of his master to play will therefore be essential to try to finally recover the Champions League. A trophy that has eluded him since the 2010/2011 season. Or an eternity. Especially since there are also eight points to pick up on impressive Premier League leaders Arsenal. A whole program where KDB will have a central role to play. Whether he is occasionally on the bench or not.