Kevin De Bruyne

Man City - Liverpool recap
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Man City gives Liverpool guard of honor, 4-star thumping

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Raheem Sterling scored, won a penalty, and forced an own goal out of his former side as Manchester City gave Liverpool a guard of honor and then battered the newly-crowned champions 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

Kevin De Bruyne had a goal and an assist to move within three assists of equalling Thierry Henry’s PL single-season record for assists (20). It would’ve been two but Sterling’s second goal was changed to an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal.

MANCHESTER CITY – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Phil Foden scored City’s other goal and Riyad Mahrez has a stoppage-time fifth chalked off by VAR under questionable circumstances. The runners-up are 20 points back of Liverpool with six matches left each.

The four goals allowed were the most by Liverpool in a Premier League game since an Oct. 2017 loss at Tottenham.


Three things we learned

1. Weirdest… guard of honor… ever: Man City gave the new Premier League champions a richly-deserved guard of honor, as the champs walked onto the pitch between two lines of applauding runners-up. The empty stands helped deliver an extremely awkward first welcome for the new kings of England.

2. Sterling cuts up the champs: Ex-Liverpool star Sterling twice got the better of Joe Gomez in the first half. The first time was an unholy battle in the box where the winger didn’t go down after a few legit fouls before hitting the deck under a lesser shove. De Bruyne fooled Alisson Becker and converted his penalty just before the first half water break.

The second goal was class even if his first touch to fool the center back was a little heavy before slotting past Alisson. HIs third went down as Alexander-Arnold own goal but was headed home anyway.

3. Hangover, Pt. IV? Liverpool did not have its finishing boots or foreheads in the first half-hour despite having a good amount of dangerous chances, so their performance coming out of the gates makes it hard to put the blowout down to mentality. Although maybe the club’s perpetual drive to become a title-winner took a that will take a minute to reclaim.

Regardless, when we wrote about the “What now?” of post-title Liverpool, we pointed out that the Reds’ biggest obstacle to boasting the best league season of all-time is what City did two seasons ago.

In 2017-18, City lost twice and drew four times, collecting 100 points while scoring 106 goals with a plus-79 goal differential. The Reds are now at two losses and two draws with six to play, sitting on 70 goals and a plus-46 GD.

Still the champions, though, and you wouldn’t put it past them to score six-a-game for a while.

Man of the Match (and Player of the Year)

De Bruyne. He’s just incredible, one of only five players to score 10-plus goals and 10-plus assists across Europe’s top five leagues (Jadon Sancho, Lionel Messi, Alassane Plea, Serge Gnabry).


Man City – Liverpool recap

Gabriel Jesus was offside when he potted a third-minute breakaway.

Mohamed Salah could’ve had it 1-0 at the other end but his less-than-ideal take was collected by Ederson.

Liverpool put the first two shots on target before Kevin De Bruyne led a charge that finished with a blocked shot in the Reds’ 18.

The Reds countered through Sadio Mane, but the Senegalese sensation’s shot spun wide.

Salah then beat Ederson but not the goal post as Liverpool kept knocking at the door.

De Bruyne might’ve won a penalty off Virgil van Dijk in the 23rd minute, but referee Anthony Taylor blew his whistle and gave a foul in the run-up.

Sterling then did win a penalty off Joe Gomez in a minuscule bit of revenge for their early season dust-up(s).

Ederson deployed his best Manuel Neuer in racing well outside the 18 to deny Salah with a slide before clearing the danger with a second touch.

Sterling made it 2-0 on a Phil Foden-led rush, beating Gomez and then Alisson with a cool finish despite a tough first touch.

Foden delivered a goal of his own before halftime to make it 3-0, a tremendous 1-2 with De Bruyne to put the Belgian within three of Thierry Henry’s single-season assist record.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Jesus had a 49th-minute chance to provide City’s fourth but sputtered his shot to a stooping Alisson. Then Sterling drove the middle before taking a shot that was deflected just wide of the far post.

De Bruyne took an incredible first-touch pass and neatly had another assist when he found a shoved Foden for a missed effort.

Mane won a free kick on the edge of the 18 in the 56th as Liverpool hoped for a penalty.

Instead, City scored again when De Bruyne cued up Sterling for a shot that was slid into the Liverpool goal by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It should’ve been 5-0 when Mahrez beat Alisson in stoppage time, but the ball hit Foden’s arm in the build-up when Fabinho dragged the City man to the turf.

Man City beats Newcastle to complete FA Cup semifinal field

Newcastle - Man City recap
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Manchester City wasn’t at its best but took care of business in a 2-0 FA Cup quarterfinal win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

Kevin De Bruyne scored a first-half penalty and Raheem Sterling scored a pretty second-half goal in the win.

Sterling’s goal came moments after Dwight Gayle had one of the worst howlers you’ll see this year, but City controlled the match and deserved the win.

Man City joins Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea in the semis. City will meet Arsenal on July 19, one day after Chelsea battles Man Utd.

[ MORE: Liverpool win Premier League – everything to know ]

It’s no surprise that Man City was in control in the opening half-hour. After one half hour, Newcastle had completed less than 10 percent of the passes of City (188-15).

Raheem Sterling forced a great save out of Karl Darlow and Riyad Mahrez also just missed with an effort as the defending tournament champs possessed and possessed against Newcastle’s well-drilled group.

Fabian Schar shoved Gabriel Jesus to the turf in silly fashion on a cross that was never going to meet the Brazilian, and De Bruyne put City up 1-0 in the 37th minute.

Newcastle was much better in the second half, and it should’ve been 1-1 when Allan Saint-Maximin cued up Dwight Gayle atop the six. The striker somehow sailed it over the goal.

Raheem Sterling put the tie to bed within moments, curling a beautiful strike around Darlow and inside the far post.

It was Sterling’s 22nd goal of the season, giving him a goal in five competitions including the Premier League (12), Champions League (5), League Cup (3), and Community Shield.

Chelsea ends Man City’s 2-year Premier League reign

Chelsea - Man City recap
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Willian and Christian Pulisic scored to give Chelsea a 2-1 win over Manchester City and crown Liverpool the 2019-20 champions of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Full PL TV schedule ]  

Kevin De Bruyne scored for Man City in the loss, but Fernandinho was sent off by VAR to send Willian to the spot for the match-winning penalty.

Man City now maxes out at 84 points, two behind the massive haul of 86 collected by Liverpool through 31 matches.

Chelsea is now just one point back of third-place Leicester City, their 54 points five better than Manchester United and Wolves.

CHELSEA – MAN CITY FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. The Blues are for real and Werner is coming: The center forwards have not been good enough this season, even though young Tammy Abraham has bagged a lot of goals. Chelsea under Frank Lampard have produced an awful lot of chances, second only to City in the PL, but a clinical finisher could make them a genuine title threat.

2. Fernandinho’s hard-luck decisive moment: Pep Guardiola pulled a Javier Mascherano in turning one of the best defensive midfielders into a center back, and Fernandinho has been a war horse for City. But his hand ball on the line was not going to escape VAR, and he’ll miss at least three matches for the straight red card.

3. Pulisic isn’t (just) an American marketing tool: Well duh, but we’re probably going to be on this one for a long time, but those who criticized Chelsea’s big money purchase of the USMNT star certainly don’t have many reasonable excuses left in their locker after he scored his seventh goal in 17 Premier League matches by torching Benjamin Mendy to put Chelsea up 1-0.

He’s the real deal, guys.

4. Kevin De Bruyne is unreal: We knew that one, too.

Man of the Match

Andreas Christensen —The Chelsea center back blocked a shot with his face in his most memorable moment, but collected three clearances, four tackles, and an interception to go with it while winning all eight of his duels and passing at 95 percent. He also completed two dribble attempts.


Chelsea – Man City recap

The early moments were all Man City, but Chelsea provided some danger via a Christian Pulisic- and Willian-led rush which resulted in a 13th-minute corner kick.

Kepa Arrizabalaga denied City in the 18th minute, both sides now promising plenty for the remaining 70-plus minutes.

City was under big pressure after the half-hour mark, Ederson making a few key saves including Andreas Christensen’s headed off a 33rd-minute corner.

Chelsea got its goal through Pulisic’s brilliant long dribble following an Ilkay Gundogan and Benjamin Mendy produced error. Ederson couldn’t stop the American’s classy finish inside the far post.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

De Bruyne equalized against his old mates with a devastating free kick up-and-over the wall to beat a sailing Kepa.

Chelsea nearly answered within a minute after a terrific Cesar Azpilicueta through ball produced a corner, but instead City countered for a possible go-ahead goal.

Raheem Sterling beat Kepa but not the frame as his 57th-minute shot hit the post.

Pulisic looked to have his second, but Kyle Walker slid to somehow keep the finish out of the goal.

Pulisic was among three players to nearly score in the 75th minute but VAR awarded the penalty and sent off Fernandinho for a handball. Willian did not miss.

Man City v. Burnley stream: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

Man City v. Burnley preview
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Manchester City’s title-holding era is not over yet, and the two-time reigning Premier League champs can stretch their reign a few more days with a win over Burnley on Monday.

WATCH MAN CITY – BURNLEY STREAM

City can also come closer to clinching another top four finish with a win over 11th-place Burnley at the Etihad Stadium, though the Citizens are awaiting their appeal of a 2-year European ban (start time at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

City can sink Liverpool’s lead to 20 points with nine to play if it beats Burnley for the second time this season. If it drops points, Liverpool can win the league by beating Crystal Palace on Wednesday. The Clarets’ 39 points have them in contention for the Europa League but Sean Dyche’s men are fighting injuries and contract worries.

Team news

Man City will not have Eric Garcia after the young Spaniard suffered a scary injury in a collision with Ederson against Arsenal.

Joao Cancelo and Phil Foden start for City as will both Silvas: Bernardo and David.

Burnley’s been beset by injuries and will not have Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes, and Johann Berg Gudmundsson. Jeff Hendrick and four others are out-of-contract soon and there are questions about their use.

Josh Brownhill will make his first Premier League start for Burnley after transferring from Bristol City in January.

What they’re saying

Burnley boss Dyche testy on contracts v injuries dilemma: “I advised many months ago, before Covid, what situations I felt were important. The club are not always thirsty to move things forward quickly so we have had to wait and then the Covid situation occurred which is obviously very serious, but in the football world, it has given a different feel and made it more complicated. … We are waiting on the chairman to advise on what I said many months ago and if that doesn’t occur then it is fair to say we will be down to a very low squad number with the injuries on top of that. Of course it will affect the group but we have shown many times that there are many players here who are capable of doing the job and get results.”

Kevin De Bruyne on playing for Pep: “What is handy for me is I think I’ve found the coach who has the same philosophy that I have in my mind. Basically it is very simple. I don’t think I have a lot of conversations with Pep in regard to playing or what he asks me to do. He gives me a lot of freedom and understands that whatever he asks of the team or me personally I will do it, I don’t question it.

Odds and ends (Full matchweek odds)

The hosts are heavy favorites at -715 via DraftKings with Burnley at +1700.

City beat Burnley 4-1 at Turf Moor on Dec. 3 when Gabriel Jesus’ brace joined Riyad Mahrez and Rodri on the score sheet.

The Man City v. Burnley preview’s official prediction

City has a match in its back pocket and five days rest. Burnley’s a cagey side but this shouldn’t be much of a contest as Pep Guardiola looks to keep City’s status as PL title holders in hand for as long as possible. 3-0 Man City.

Man City drops 10-man Arsenal

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Kevin De Bruyne wasted little time reminding the Premier League his status as its elite playmaker in a 3-0 win over 10-man Arsenal on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

De Bruyne converted a penalty and set up Raheem Sterling for a goal (video), both opportunities aided dramatically by sloppy sub David Luiz.

Phil Foden converted a rebound from a Sergio Aguero shot as part of 11 minutes stoppage after a scary injury late as Ederson clattered into Eric Garcia, who was prone on the field for almost 10 minutes while being tended to by trainers. City played the rest of the match with 10 men after using all five of its subs prior to the injury.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ] 

City’s win means Liverpool cannot win the league versus Everton on Sunday, as City pulls within 22 points of the leaders with nine matches left for each club.

Ninth-place Arsenal stays on 40 points, a point back of Tottenham, five back of fifth-place Manchester United, and eight behind the top four.

The match began with tributes to the National Health Services workers who’ve been battling COVID-19 as well as the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide.


Three things we learned

1. Arteta v. Pep drama stymied by injuries: Injuries to Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari in the first 24 minutes really hurt our chances of seeing whether Mikel Artet could better plan for old boss Pep Guardiola than most. Already without Lucas Torreira, Arsenal’s midfield took another hit when Xhaka was stretchered off in the 8th minute. Ceballos replaced him, not exactly a huge bummer but a big difference in terms of tactics. Then Mari was injured and replaced by David Luiz, who made two huge errors in the loss.

2. Gunners’ European hopes take a hit in a hurry: Even with eighth-place probably going to Europa League and fifth likely a Champions League spot, Arsenal really wanted to use this match-in-hand to climb above Tottenham and move even with Wolves. Sheffield United’s draw with Villa also opened a door to Arsenal. Arteta will need to remind his players that this one didn’t mean as much as it might appear, with Spurs, Wolves, Blades, and Leicester still on the docket in what you’d deem “European six-pointers.” Still, it doesn’t feel good after months of imagining that Arteta might’ve conjured Arsenal into a better version of itself.

3. De Bruyne furthers Player of the Year case: Just as Liverpool claimed back-to-back PFA Players of the Year when Man City won the league, KDB looks set to enjoy his first and much deserved honor despite Liverpool running away with the silverware. De Bruyne is now three assists shy of equalling Thierry Henry’s PL single season record of 20, and he’s one goal away from joining the select players to hit double-digit goals and assists in a top five European league this season.

The healthy lead allowed Guardiola to sub him off with 20 minutes to play, keeping the Belgian fresh after completing 80 percent of his passes including 7-of-8 longballs, converting all three of his dribbles, and making three interceptions (Sofascore).


Game flow

Bernd Leno picked up where he left off in tipping a De Bruyne third-minute free kick over the bar.

Xhaka’s injury happened not too long after, and the Swiss international required a stretcher to get off the pitch. Dani Ceballos entered the fray.

New boy Pablo Mari, the ex-Man City man, also needed to be replaced early with David Luiz entering the fray after 24 minutes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The first half was all Man City if a bit rusty, Raheem Sterling lively but unable to produce an opener until he received help from the opposition.

De Bruyne’s swept in cross bounded off Luiz and onto the path of Sterling, who beat an otherwise strong Leno.

The goalkeeper had little hope early in the second half after Luiz hauled down Riyad Mahrez to earn a red card and send De Bruyne to the spot.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]