HomePREMIER LEAGUEPep Guardiola's ruthless Kevin De Bruyne approach against Tottenham has forewarned Manchester...

Pep Guardiola’s ruthless Kevin De Bruyne approach against Tottenham has forewarned Manchester City.


Pep Guardiola’s ruthless Kevin De Bruyne approach against Tottenham has forewarned Manchester City.

Manchester City isn’t accustomed to bad or even indifferent streaks. Even when they lose, owing to De Bruyne, they routinely create chances, reinforcing the saying that City is the only team capable of destroying themselves.

However, previous to Thursday’s game against Tottenham, City had lost three and drawn one of their eight games. In their two losses last week, they just had one shot on goal.

Pep Guardiola made it a point on Wednesday to underscore that City’s recent goal-scoring woes were his fault, not theirs. He conveyed the sense that he had a clear plan in place to assist them in regaining their rhythm. Few, though, few could have predicted that getting go of star Kevin De Bruyne would be a part of the plan.

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Guardiola said last week that Erling Haaland’s three-game goalless skid might be stopped with a change in approach and simply by getting the ball into the box more regularly for their number nine. He made it clear that his teammates were ultimately accountable for carrying out such tactics, even though he afterwards claimed responsibility for it not happening.

To that end, Guardiola made a number of key selection decisions against Tottenham, most notably benching De Bruyne in favor of inserting Julian Alvarez as an extra body in the box.

De Bruyne has only been on the bench twice this season, but on both occasions, Alvarez and Haaland have scored five goals  together against Nottingham Forest. Perhaps it was the reasoning for the choice; according to Guardiola, Alvarez was chosen to add another body to the box.

Guardiola believes that City must create more chances for Haaland in order to improve their record of one shot on goal in two games and Haaland’s goalless drought of two and a half games. In his Thursday program remarks, he stated again that in order to have a successful season, you must compete in every game and battle for “absolutely everything.”


The sacrifice made by De Bruyne to get those goals, then, reveals a lot about Guardiola’s attitude on City’s recent collapse. De Bruyne is often regarded as impenetrable and can be relied on to lead City back to form. He is impenetrable. Guardiola, though, has now been eliminated in order to elicit the desired response.

This brings De Bruyne’s ability to play defense into doubt to fight like Guardiola desired, in addition to his artistic form. Despite the number of changes, City’s style in the first half looked quite similar to recent outings. They were calling out for De Bruyne’s calmness and eye for a pass in the final third.

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Despite losing twice in first-half injury stoppage time, City came out of the break ready to prove Guardiola wrong. They accomplished this by increasing the tempo, getting guys into the box, and making the required passes.

City were level in seconds without the assistance of De Bruyne or other players such as Bernardo Silva. Riyad Mahrez danced into the box before beating Hugo Lloris at the near post.

De Bruyne and City will play Wolves next. Or because the missed training day may have harmed his fitness. Nonetheless, this was his first non-appearance in a Premier League match during the halfway of City’s season.

De Bruyne and others may have been reminded that no one is safe under Guardiola  no one is exempt from scrutiny. The new-look Blues eventually looked good against Spurs even without their star creator.

Pep Guardiola’s ruthless Kevin De Bruyne approach against Tottenham has forewarned Manchester City.

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