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Kevin De Bruyne Hands Manchester City Title Race Advantage

A great and needed win.

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The king is back AND back with a bang!

Manchester City has suddenly shifted into another gear with the return of star player Kevin De Bruyne into the team after a long injury layoff that saw him sidelined for several months. The midfielder has been on the treatment table since getting injured against Burnley in the first league game of the season.

But a goal and an assist in each of his last two games since returning into the team show just how important the Belgian will be if Pep Guardiola and City are to do the unthinkable by winning a fourth straight league title. It’s a feat that not even the dominant Manchester United team under Sir Alex Ferguson was able to achieve.

Although striker Erling Haaland has turned heads in recent times by breaking goal-scoring records in a manner that has not been seen in the Premier League before while Rodri has also risen to become such an influential player in the team that his absence is usually felt, the king still remains De Bruyne.

The Belgian is in a class of his own and nobody can drag the crown from him as far as the Premier League is concerned. He is simply the best in the division. His performances in the two games since his return are enough to convince anybody still in doubt.

Teammate Rodri acknowledged De Bruyne’s importance after the Newcastle game.

“Kev, with no physicality right now he has the talent to do these amazing things,” said Rodri. “With Kevin, everything is easy. This is the reality, we need him. All of these years, we need him now. He’s gonna be so important.

“I told him that his season starts now and it’s gonna be key for us,” the Spaniard added.

But De Bruyne’s return is not good news to City’s title rivals. Liverpool recently overtook Arsenal as the main threat to City’s ambition this season. Although that doesn’t rule the Gunners out of the title race, it’s becoming more of an uphill climb with each poor result.

For the Blues, things seem to be falling perfectly into place. De Bruyne’s return has coincided with City’s upturn in form. The team is currently on an eighth-game unbeaten run in all competitions. A long unbeaten run in the second half of the season has preceded each of the last three league title wins.

So in a way, it appears history is about to repeat once again. Add to that the fact that Liverpool are short of two key players who are away on international duty with their national teams. Top scorer Mohamed Salah is away with Egypt at the African Cup of Nations tournament while midfielder Wataru Endo is at the Asian Cup tournament with Japan.

Also key defender Trent-Alexander Arnold picked up a knee injury against Arsenal in the FA Cup, a tear in his lateral knee ligament.

These key players could potentially be unavailable until the middle of February. Arsenal and Tottenham are also missing a few players as a result of the competitions while Man City have no such concerns. That gives the team a huge advantage in the title race.

Meanwhile having De Bruyne back is like making a new January signing for City. With Erling Haaland set to return soon as well, the duo could form a formidable partnership that will take the team a notch higher.

Putting together another lengthy unbeaten run could be all the team needs to make history by winning a fourth straight league title.