Manchester City failed to score at home in the Premier League for the first time under Pep Guardiola on Sunday.
The defending Premier League champions were beaten 2-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers, seeing them fall eight points behind league leaders Liverpool.
City created 13 chances in that match, their second-fewest tally in the Premier League this season, and it was clear they were missing the injured Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian midfielder has been back to his best this season after an injury-hit 2018/19, in which already it can be said City did a much better job of covering for him. He has also created 29 chances so far, the most of any player in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.
This has translated to eight assists, the most of any player in Europe’s top five leagues. It is almost double the next-best tally, with Luis Alberto (Lazio), Jadon Sancho (Dortmund), Yoann Court (Brest) and Islam Slimani (Monaco) all on five.
The current record for assists in a single Premier League season is held by former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. His total of 20 in the 2002/03 campaign equates to 0.54 per appearance. Right now, De Bruyne is averaging 1.14.
Thankfully, for City, his injury is said to be “not a big problem”. According to De Bruyne’s manager, Pep Guardiola, he should be back after the international game, in time for a trip to play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. City left empty-handed thanks to an Andros Townsend wondergoal in this fixture last season. With Liverpool already ahead by eight points, that can’t happen again this time.
While providing goals with ease, De Bruyne has only managed to score two for himself, some way off Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski who is the top scorer in Europe’s big five leagues with an incredible 11 goals so far. This is despite him taking two fewer shots than Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Chiesa of Fiorentina, who lead the way in Europe’s top five leagues with 36 attempts.
Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has proven the most tricky player to face in Europe’s top five leagues, completing 38 take-ons, but he is yet to face Ricardo Pereira of Leicester City who leads the way for tackles, making 52.
In goal, Jan Oblak has kept six clean sheets so far in eight games, the best record in Europe’s top five leagues.
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