A sky blue bromance that can continue to blossom
Manchester City v Stoke, Saturday 12.45pm, BT Sport 1
Kevin De Bruyne has been a delight to watch this season. As Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Dele Alli claim the plaudits in the race for the title, De Bruyne’s debut in England’s top flight has been close to perfection.
On average, Manchester City’s number 17 has scored, assisted or played a key pass (a pass that leads to a shot on goal) every 24 minutes in the top flight this year. Mahrez’s average is a goal, assist or key pass once every 41 minutes.
And while fans of the beautiful game everywhere have benefited from watching the magician at work, one man in particular has benefited more than most – City hot-shot Sergio Aguero.
Aguero is arguably one of the greatest strikers to grace the Premier League. Only Alan Shearer scored 100 top flight goals in fewer games than Sergio, who is averaging a goal every 96 minutes this season. And the stats suggest that is in no small part down to some excellent work from De Bruyne.
In the 14 league games that both Aguero and De Bruyne have started, Aguero has scored 16 goals. That’s an average of 1.14 goals every game. Those games include a 6-1 hammering of Newcastle, 4-0 wins against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, as well as last week’s 3-0 demolition of Chelsea – match that provoked Chelsea gaffer Guus Hiddink to describe KDB as ‘a beautiful player’. That he is Guus, that he is.
When Kevin De Bruyne hasn’t started a match alongside Aguero, the Argentinian has scored just six goals in 12 games, a return of just 0.5 goals a game.
Real Madrid are due to visit the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, and it would be no surprise to see Manuel Pellegrini resting a few stars ahead of the visit of Ronaldo and co. However, if we are treated to another stating line up of Aguero and De Bruyne it’s well worth taking a look at the on Aguero to open the scoring.
The striker has eight goals in his last seven league games and has five goals in four league starts against Stoke. We wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Hughes was having some sleepless nights – particularly after watching The Potters concede 10 goals in their last three games.
Unsurprisingly the home side are the favourites, while it’s that Aguero will score at any time during a Manchester City win. Kevin De Bruyne himself is a shot to find the onion bag for just the seventh time this season, but it’s more likely that he’ll be pulling the strings for Sergio on Saturday afternoon.