De Bruyne is EPL’s Best Player as Guardiola hails Liverpool’s push for title
Kevin De Bruyne has been named the Premier League’s Player of the Season.
The Manchester City star has driven Pep Guardiola’s team to the verge of a fourth title in the space of five seasons with some sensational displays.
Despite having a rather stuttering start to the campaign after suffering an eye injury in last season’s Champions League final, and then sustaining another problem during Belgium’s Euro 2020 quarter-final defeat to Italy, the 30-year-old has gone on to score 15 goals in the Premier League so far in 2021-22.
Remarkably, those goals have come from an expected goals (xG) value of just 5.8. He has also provided seven assists.
Four of those came in City’s 5-1 thrashing of Wolves earlier in May, with De Bruyne becoming the first player since Harry Kane in May 2017 to score three goals in a Premier League game with his weak foot, while he is the first midfielder in the competition’s history to do so.
Indeed, he has contributed to 13 goals across his last nine Premier League appearances to truly take the reins of City’s title charge.
While City still need to beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa on the final day to ensure the title is theirs, De Bruyne’s stellar efforts have been rewarded.
The playmaker previously won the award in 2020, after matching Thierry Henry’s Premier League assists record, while a City player has taken the prize for a third successive season, with Ruben Dias having won the accolade last year.
De Bruyne’s triumph seals a fine day for City players, with Phil Foden having been selected as the league’s Young Player of the Season.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has hailed the efforts of Liverpool for pushing Manchester City to new heights in the battle for the Premier League title.
City are one point ahead of the Reds heading into their final match of the season against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium, with Jurgen Klopp’s side at home to Wolves today.
Victory over Steven Gerrard’s Villa would ensure a fourth Premier League title of the Guardiola era in just five years at City, with only Alex Ferguson winning more (13).
It would also make the Spaniard the outright leader for English top-flight titles among non-British managers, going one clear of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.
Guardiola believes his side would not have achieved what they have without the competition from Liverpool, who remain in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple.
“We would not achieve what we have without them [Liverpool],” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “We have our opponent who brings you to the limits, otherwise complacency arrives.
“The players are not stupid, I do not need to tell them how good they are. They play against them and see them on TV and I said, ‘wow, if we want to be there, we have to do it’.
“I think it is quite similar like they should think about us.”
Guardiola heaped praise on his players as they stand on the brink of back-to-back titles.