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Kevin De Bruyne was the difference between Arsenal and Manchester City

Manchester City beat Arsenal and Kevin De Bruyne was the primary reason why, says Mark Lawrenson.



Former Liverpool and Ireland player Mark Lawrenson joined The Football Show to discuss Kevin De Bruyne.

Manchester City are top of the league. They are level on points with Arsenal buy have better goal difference.

City beat Arsenal 3-1 in London this evening. And although Arsenal have a game in hand, it feels like their title race is in the balance. City outclassed Arsenal. Eddie Nketieh missed two big chances, Bukayo Saka missed one as well.

They scored from a questionable penalty to equalize after Kevin De Bruyne gave City a 1-0 lead. He was set up by Tomiyasu's poor backpass. Jack Grealish gave City the lead back. Erling Haaland killed the game off in the final 15 minutes.

De Bruyne hasn't had the best season for club or country. He was widely criticized at the World Cup because Belgium crashed out early. And he didn't start in one of City's biggest games in recent times against Tottenham.

But Mark Lawrenson believes he was the difference today.

"Absolutely class," Lawrenson said of De Bruyne's opening goal.

"Just a brilliant finish from a brilliant footballer. You might argue that in the outstanding moments, he was the game's best player. He certainly contributed to the third goal as well. And he's not been playing as of late. They let him back on at the weekend and he looked like the old De Bruyne."

It's easy to forge that De Bruyne is not necessarily a young man anymore. He's 31, which isn't old, but as an energetic midfielder who constantly works to find space or make runs in behind, his fitness needs to be exceptionally high.

So the De Bruyne of today is unlikely to be the same as the 28-year-old De Bruyne for that reason. But he can still be that guy on occasion.

"He was the old De Bruyne tonight. He was the difference between the two sides and Odegaard never really got in the game, he's generally the playmaker for Arsenal. But we know De Bruyne is a fab player and when he doesn't play [you wonder if there is something wrong]."

Manchester City face Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and West Ham in their next games, so is the title-clinching run about to begin? And how will Arsenal respond to this loss?

Mikel Arteta's side have been exceptional all season but this recent run of poor form must turn around quickly. Manchester City will win the league and likely at a canter if it doesn't.

Manchester United's potential sale to Qatar is depressing.

 

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Arsenal Manchester City Mark Lawrenson Mikel Arteta Pep Guardiola Premier League