If Erling Haaland is going to be the main man at Manchester City then Kevin De Bruyne might just have something to say about that. With four goals, including a first Premier League hat-trick claimed in the opening 24 whirlwind minutes, he propelled City ever closer to retaining the title.
After De Bruyne scored his third he even adopted what appeared to be an adaptation of Haaland’s “Zen pose” goal celebration. “I did a couple of interviews and they said I was ‘with Haaland’,” he later said, denying any homage or, indeed, mickey-take. “I just did it because I scored three.” Mmmm … that was some coincidence. Whatever the reason, what a combination they will be next season following the confirmation that City are signing the Borussia Dortmund striker.
It will be scary for the rest of the league and Pep Guardiola spoke for the first time about the signing. “He can come (to City) for many years hopefully,” he said of the 21-year-old. “I am pretty sure he will adapt perfectly to our team for next season. He is an incredible young talent; perfect age.” Meanwhile, De Bruyne was simply brilliant. Ten out of 10. He is and has been for some time City’s outstanding player and he showed it again, with Guardiola hailing him as “unstoppable, brilliant, awesome, outstanding, perfect”.
The only blemish? The Belgian struck a post when he could have had five goals, as he ruefully admitted. But then, had they taken their chances, City could have had 10. They had arrived at Molineux with a little trepidation – it has never been an easy stadium for them – but left having imperiously restored their three-point lead over Liverpool and, crucially, further enhanced their goal difference.