It was one of those days for Kevin De Bruyne where everything he touched turned to goal.
The Manchester City captain came into the game with a huge baggage of expectations from his fans. Having lost the game against Tottenham two weeks ago, Manchester City were left to walk on eggshells.
City couldn’t afford to lose any game with their rival Liverpool inching closer after every Premier League game. And losing the Manchester Derby was just out of the question.
Hence the Belgian international brought his A-game to the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City hosted their neighbours.
It was a must-win game for Manchester United as well. Although the title race has been reduced to just two teams, the race for the fourth spot is heating up. And that is where Manchester United is at the moment.
Since Arsenal, who are the top competitor for the spot, had won their game earlier in the evening, United couldn’t afford to lose this one.
Kevin De Bruyne had an impactful first half
That is why the game started in a cagy manner, with both teams coming at each other’s throats. However, it was City who made the first mark in the game to go one up inside 10 minutes.
It was a great cutback by Bernardo Silva that found De Bruyne inside the box. The Belgian made no mistake to bury the ball behind the net.
It took Manchester United some time to find their strides, but they made sure to make the most of it when they did.
After being under pressure for a long time, United had a moment of glory, and Sancho ensured a goal at the end of it.
The attack was started by a lost possession by City. And Pogba was quick enough to spot the run by Sancho. The former Dortmund winger bends the ball to the far corner to beat Ederson.
Manchester United drew level in the 22nd minute. For the first time, it felt as if United would build upon this lead.
Kevin De Bruyne had other ideas, though. Only six minutes later, he ensured that the lead of one goal was restored for his team.
It was a straightforward attack from the left-hand side by City. Phil Foden was the leader of it, but his shot was saved by De Gea. The Spanish goalkeeper couldn’t clear the ball, though, and it fell kindly for another City player.
However, Silva couldn’t get it, and a rebound fell on De Bruyne’s feet, who finished the job.
After this goal, Machester City decided to control the game. They slowed the pace down and played possession game for the rest of the half. Both teams went back into the tunnel at City at the stroke of halftime, leading the game 2-1.
Pressure paid off for City in second half
The second half was no different. City dominated the possession for the most part of the second half’s opening, and their pressure paid off finally.
Manchester City scored a third goal in the game by means of a set-piece. And guess who delivered the ball in the box?
Yes, it was Kevin De Bruyne again.
He delivered a perfect corner from the left-hand side to find Mahrez at the edge of the box. The winger decided to take a first time shot and stroke the ball through the defence.
At the 68th minute of the game, City led the game 3-1. And United was heading towards their 4th away defeat in succession.
Kevin De Bruyne was withdrawn in the 80th minute but his 2 goals and one assist had done enough for his team.
The final few minutes of the game were just a footnote to what the story had been throughout.
A small mistake at the back helped Manchester City retain possession in United’s half and Mahrez made the most of it to score his second goal of the game.
The game ended at 4-1, and they will be happy to take these 3 points home that help them regain a 6 point lead on their title challenger Liverpool.