EPL

Guardiola hails Haaland and De Bruyne's 'special connection'

By Sports Desk April 17, 2023

Pep Guardiola hailed Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne's "special connection" after their eighth Premier League goal combination of the season.

The pair were key once again as City beat lowly Leicester City 3-1 on Saturday.

Haaland scored twice to take his goal tally in the league to 32, matching Mohamed Salah's record for a 38-game season. 

His second goal came when he latched onto a precise De Bruyne throughball, marking the eighth time the Belgium international has teed up a Haaland strike in the top flight this term.

That is one off the joint record of nine, shared by Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min and ex-Liverpool forwards Stan Collymore and Robbie Fowler.

"I think the connection between Erling and Kevin is obvious," Guardiola said. "I think Kevin needs the runners to do his biggest quality.

"Erling needs an assist player to make his positive runs. It's a natural way. We talk a lot about 'take a look at him when he runs and put the ball there'.

"When the ball is correct, and he has this space, he is unstoppable. We know it. But they have a special connection and you can see this.

"But what I like about that second goal is Kevin won the duel. I love that. He won the duel and after that, the run and finish from Erling was fantastic."

De Bruyne's eight assists to Haaland is three more than any other Premier League player has managed to a team-mate this term, with Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes having set up Marcus Rashford on five occasions.

Victory over Leicester, combined with Arsenal's 2-2 draw against West Ham, means City are just four points off the Gunners with a game in hand.

The title rivals will meet on April 26, in what looks set to be the decisive clash.

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