The sixth anniversary of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City reign ended in a familiar way to so many before it, with his side brutally sweeping away hapless opposition and Kevin De Bruyne showing his pre-eminence as one of the Premier League’s all-time great performers.
It was a day, of course, when the City faithful attended en masse to witness the home debut of another of their players who may one day merit that accolade. But Erling Haaland was not on the scoresheet on this occasion – something that is unlikely to be uttered that often this season – and Kevin De Bruyne stole his thunder.
It all happened six years to the day that Guardiola first introduced himself to the Etihad and his team recorded an edgy 2-1 win over Sunderland, thanks to a late own goal.
Kevin De Bruyne Still Remains
Only Kevin De Bruyne and defender John Stones survive from the 17 players on duty for City that day although it could be argued that the former is still not yet at the peak of his powers given his ability to apparently improve with each passing season.
“When I was in Munich, Kevin played in Wolfsburg and was the best player in the Bundesliga,” said Guardiola. “So Kevin was a really good player before our arrival, he’s good with us and will be good after us!
Hopefully, he can enjoy his football, hopefully, he can be consistent in his performances.
“With his goal, I said ‘there is no space’ and he scored a goal. It was another really good performance; an assist for Phil, lots of crosses and it is difficult to do because Bournemouth defend really well.”