EPL

Guardiola in awe of De Bruyne's 'superhuman' passing

By Sports Desk December 15, 2019

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claims midfield superstar Kevin De Bruyne plays the type of passes other footballers are simply incapable of.

The Belgium midfielder produced a dominant display to inspire City to a comfortable 3-0 away win over Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.

De Bruyne scored two fine goals either side of an assist for Raheem Sterling, leaving defending champions City 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.

The two-goal star played in a more advanced role and, while lauding his passing, Guardiola acknowledged the benefits of De Bruyne being shorn of defensive responsibility.

"Kevin made an incredible two goals and an assist," Guardiola said in his post-match news conference.

"He is an extraordinary player so we don't discourage his quality. He sees passes and action that normal humans can't see, having a special vision and assists.

"Always we speak to him, 'You have to score more goals', and today he scored two incredible goals and got an assist for Raheem Sterling.

"Kevin can play in different positions, but, of course, when they can think more in attack and less in defence, it is much better."

Guardiola was satisfied with the performance of Phil Foden, who made his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal.

City frequently looked to hit the hapless Gunners on the break, though, which Guardiola suggested did not suit the 19-year-old's game.

"Phil always plays good," the manager said. "He doesn't always touch the ball but he played well defensively.

"We make the actions for the counter-attack but not as much ball possession, so that's why he did not touch the ball too much.

"Always when he has the ball, he does another extraordinary thing. He is a great player.

"He did what he should do and helped us to win the game, especially in the first half. He’s so clever with his passes and so on."

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    Arteta's side appeared to be cruising until Surridge halved the deficit in stoppage time from fellow substitute Simon Francis' probing ball, but it was too little too late and the Spaniard will be hopeful of adding to the two FA Cups he won as a player with the Gunners.

     

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    While a top-four finish in the Premier League may not be beyond Arsenal's reach, it is a significant stretch for a side whose top-flight win tally of six matches Bournemouth's exploits this season. That leaves the FA Cup as a sizeable consolation prize for a club with a proud history in this competition.

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    Saka's impact on the game is evident from his goal and assist, but the 18-year-old's all-round display was just as noteworthy, with an 87.5 per cent passing accuracy, five recoveries and two chances created.

    Howe bad was that?

    Cherries boss Howe made six changes from the victory against Brighton and, with top-flight safety his primary objective, you can understand why. But the side he put out looked lost, producing a disjointed and tactically inept display that saw the tie put beyond their reach before the half-hour mark, with Surridge's late strike failing to paper over the cracks.

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    Arsenal head to Turf Moor on Sunday to take on a Burnley side who sit level with them on 30 points, while Bournemouth welcome Aston Villa for a crunch six-pointer on Saturday. 

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    Holders Manchester City were handed an away tie at Championship promotion chasers Sheffield Wednesday, while Manchester United could renew acquaintances with record goalscorer Wayne Rooney if his Derby County side defeat fourth-tier Northampton Town in a replay.

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