One of the major topics of discussion since Erling Haaland signed for Manchester City has been how devastating his combination with Kevin De Bruyne will be for the opponents.
When you combine the world’s best assist provider and best striker, the result will always be lots of assists and goals. De Bruyne is the record holder for the most assists in the Premier League tied with former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry at 20 for a single season.
The Belgian is on course to either equal or break that record this season having already clocked nine in just 12 league games. Haaland has been at the end of most of those, writing his name in the Premier League history books in the process.
The 22-year-old has scored 17 goals in just 11 league appearances. No player has ever achieved such a feat in the Premier League. It’s a monstrous record for a monster of a player.
Last season’s Golden Boot award was shared by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Tottenham’s Heung-min Son. The forwards scored 22 goals each. That was for the whole season. This season is not even halfway through and Haaland is already close to that margin.
The Norwegian has made all those who doubted he would fit into Pep Guardiola’s team and perform in the Premier League think again. With 17 goals and three assists in just 11 league outings, he has left even the most optimistic City fans pleasantly surprised.
But as if to remind everyone that he is no ordinary human with the ball at his feet, Kevin De Bruyne spoke loud and clear with his goal of the season contender.
City faced a tough test against resurgent Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. What was expected to be a difficult match turned out to be even more difficult as the home side set out with only one purpose in mind; to frustrate the Blues.
Brendan Rodgers set up his team in two rows between the centre circle and the edge of his penalty box. Compact and leaving no spaces for the opponents to operate, City had to resort to playing mostly sideways passes with the occasional probe for an opening.
And whenever there was a mistake or a loose ball, the home team countered swiftly to catch the Blues on a break. Ederson had to maintain alertness and pull up important saves to prevent a shock defeat.
Under such circumstances, the game needed a special moment from a special player to settle it. De Bruyne is often the man for such occasions. The Belgian stepped up to do the honours, curling in an unstoppable free kick in the 49th minute.
In a team full of talented players, De Bruyne and Haaland are in a class of their own. But if Haaland is a monster, De Bruyne is an alien. So City faithful can expect more pleasantly shocking moments to come from the duo.
It’s still early days in the season but the signs are there to show that the duo will produce many more special moments for City in the course of the campaign. That could be the difference maker for the team this term, especially in Europe.