David Ornstein has put Kevin de Bruyne’s purported loss of form in perspective, pointing out that he was ‘imperious’ as Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-1 in February.
Much has been made of De Bruyne losing his form, despite the fact that he has the most assists in the Premier League and has created the most chances.
Pundits have been lining up to say that Martin Odegaard has taken over as the Premier League’s best midfielder from De Bruyne.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein said on Sky Sports: “The World Cup has clearly affected De Bruyne in some way because his numbers are down. That’s a fact. But I was at the Emirates when Manchester City beat Arsenal and I thought Kevin de Bruyne was imperious.
“The Arsenal fans showed their frustration at him in the wrong way by pelting him with projectiles when he left the pitch.
“He is a class act. He is 31 now and I don’t think it’s the first time Pep has made little comments about him; maybe that gets the best out of him and gees him up.
“This is a crucial time not just for him but for Manchester City as well because their dream is to win the Champions League and they haven’t managed to do it so far. If they do it, you suspect that De Bruyne will be absolutely critical to that.
“The World Cup was always going to have an impact though it’s not that City’s numbers are particularly down on the last five seasons or so, it’s just that Arsenal’s are higher and they’re having the most remarkable campaign.”
De Bruyne himself addressed the press on Monday and said: “Obviously, people have a different standard [for me] to a lot of players. It’s just what it is.
“People expect me to score every game and assist every game. I think I’ve been playing quite well. Maybe there have been fewer assists but I don’t think I’ve been creating less. I don’t really look at these things. I feel fine.
“I think I’m playing alright – maybe not the best I’ve every played but it’s good.
“You know the stats – I’ve created the most in the league and have the most assists and I’ve not even played four or five games. For me, it is the same.
“I’ve been doing the same thing for eight years here and 15 years in professional football so I’m feeling fine. I expect more from myself than you guys will ever do.
“You know what people are going to say outside but there’s no pressure. I play football because I like it, not because I have to, so it’s good.”
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