De Bruyne hits four as Manchester City beat Wolves to keep the cushion on top | premier league

De Bruyne hits four as Manchester City beat Wolves to keep the cushion on top | premier league

A week after Manchester City’s painful capitulation to Madrid, the response has been quite magnificent. After Kevin De Bruyne scored his fourth goal and Manchester City’s, Pep Guardiola jumped into the arms of his assistant, Rodolfo Borrell. By then Guardiola had already ditched the mammoth black puffer jacket, and the gloves have long since been abandoned in their quest to retain their Premier League crown.

De Bruyne’s peerless performance helped restore City’s three-point advantage over Liverpool at the top and there are now just two hurdles between them and a fourth league title in five seasons. Raheem Sterling added a fifth goal with six minutes remaining but it was De Bruyne, who borrowed Erling Haaland’s pensive celebration as he netted a 17-minute first-half hat-trick, who fueled this spectacular and infallible rout of the Wolves.

Technically City need four points from away games at West Ham and at home to Aston Villa to get the job done, but they do have an extra point given their superior goal difference: Liverpool need to make up a deficit of seven goals, as well as City’s three. -buffer point, to win the title.

Even with Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte picking up injuries to add to Guardiola’s defensive headaches, it’s hard to see City throwing him away from here. They have scored 22 goals in their five league appearances since exiting the FA Cup against Liverpool last month. Imagine how much they could score when Haaland is in the building.

At the end of the match, De Bruyne trotted towards the referee, Martin Atkinson, to collect the match ball. Given the mood he started in here, sending a brilliant ball across the box that was a split second too fast for Phil Foden to convert with barely a minute on the clock, it might not have It should have come as no surprise that he scored his first City hat-trick in 24 minutes, the third fastest since the start of a game in Premier League history.

His third was the pick of the pack. This stemmed from a City throw-in. Joao Cancelo located Sterling, who was challenged by Rayan Ait-Nouri, and when the ball spilled out De Bruyne happily took over, taking a few determined steps and carefully nudging the ball into a shooting position before kicking in a curling shot to the bottom corner. with what is supposed to be his weakest left foot. Then came the celebration, surely a nod to City’s new superstar. Welcome to Manchester.

De Bruyne set things in motion at the end of a typically calculated attack from City. Bernardo Silva, who operated in the middle as a false 9, slipped De Bruyne through and he stroked a low finish into the far corner. Guardiola clenched both fists.

Pep Guardiola jumps into the arms of his assistant, Rodolfo Borrell.
Pep Guardiola jumps into the arms of his assistant, Rodolfo Borrell, after Kevin De Bruyne’s fourth goal. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

It was the perfect start but Wolves responded four minutes later when Leander Dendoncker capped off a fine counterattack. Raul Jimenez advanced halfway before spreading the ball wide. City’s impromptu back line hasn’t covered itself in glory. The 37-year-old Fernandinho, who partnered with Laporte at centre-back, couldn’t stop Jimenez from finding Pedro Neto and he crossed for Dendoncker to finish coldly.

It would have made for enjoyable viewing for Bruno Lage, who along with his brother and assistant Luis Nascimento and goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts watched a few miles away at Wolves’ training base, as the trio continued to test. positive for Covid‑19. Guardiola retreated into the distant dugout and swallowed some water. He didn’t need to worry.

City retook the lead when purr De Bruyne came in from close range, after Wolves keeper Jose Sa presented the ball to him on a plate after failing to manage his smart pass for Sterling. Wolves struggled to break City’s endless chain and De Bruyne scored his hat trick without breaking a sweat.

The thing about De Bruyne is that he makes it all so easy, just par for the course. With 10 minutes left in the first half, with the game nearly over, he went after the ball, on a one-man mission, ready to tackle should Wolves slip in defence.

There was a strange fear – Zinchenko and Fernandinho were grateful for the referee to side with them after fighting in the box in each half, while Laporte came back to steal the ball as Jimenez headed towards Ederson – but it was an otherwise immaculate performance from City, all in white.

Inevitably, De Bruyne will score City’s fourth goal. Foden’s cross forced a panicked clearance from Ait-Nouri and De Bruyne was on hand to slot in. Ederson made a fingertip save to deny Jimenez moments after Foden rattled a post, but Sterling tapped in a fifth to condemn Wolves to a fourth defeat in five matches. For City, there is simply no respite in this race.

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