Manchester City kept their 100 percent record intact with a 4-1 win against Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and one man stood out above the rest: Kevin De Bruyne.
Following on from his Manchester derby heroics last week, De Bruyne, 25, scored a sublime, cheeky free kick to put City ahead and threaded a wonderful pass through to Ilkay Gundogan who scored the fourth.
[ RECAP: City, KDB hammer Cherries ]
It is clear that without the suspended Sergio Aguero, KDB has stepped up in his absence and he now has 18 goals and 16 assists in 48 games for Man City in all competitions.
Guardiola knows he has a special talent with De Bruyne and compared him to Lionel Messi.
“Messi is on a table on his own. No-one else is allowed. But the table beside, Kevin can sit there,” Guardiola said. “Kevin is an outstanding player, he is a player at another level. He understands the game, he is physically strong, he helps us out a lot defensively, aggressive without the ball and with the ball it is clear. He knows absolutely everything, he sees absolutely everything and in front of goal he makes assists and scores goals. We are so, so lucky that we have Kevin with us.”
Speaking to reporters after the game, Guardiola also claimed that Bournemouth were the best attacking team City had played against this season as Eddie Howe‘s side hit the bar and caused Claudio Bravo to make a few saves and timely interventions in the second half.
“Our high pressing was not perfect today, we had problems with controlling the Bournemouth build-up, but we created a lot of counter attacks,” Guardiola said.
City’s manager also added that “Bournemouth are the best team we’ve played against this season” and other opponents this season “just used the long ball.”
That of course was a subtle dig at Manchester United who City beat last weekend at Old Trafford. Ouch.
Still, it is now eight wins from eight in all competitions for Guardiola as City’s manager as they seem like the team to beat in the Premier League. Don’t forget they still have Aguero to come back from suspension, Vincent Kompany to come back from injury and the likes of Leroy Sane and Gundogan have only just got going.
I don’t think many would bet against City wining the PL this season after a scintillating first five games, all of them wins, under Guardiola.
He’s a top class manager and his smack talk isn’t too bad either…