Being widely recognised as the brightest jewel in Manchester City’s glistening crown speaks volumes about the talents Kevin De Bruyne possesses; the Belgian midfield maestro who was playing out of his skin before injury struck.
The man selected to be Pep Guardiola’s central creative force in his new-look side was pulling more strings than the London Symphony Orchestra before his own string (ham) went in the latter stages of City’s penultimate Premier League game before the international break.
Initially it was believed De Bruyne would potentially miss a month. However reports coming to light now suggest his recovery has gone smoother than expected, meaning KDB could even be in contention to face Everton at the Etihad this weekend.
Having registered a top-flight high four assists, not to mention two goals, in his first six appearances this is not the news Toffees fans would want to hear, while their City counterparts will naturally be delighted.
Arguably more important still for the league leaders at this stage of the season is De Bruyne’s availability for the forthcoming Barcelona double header in the Champions League, starting in a week’s time at the Camp Nou.
Wrestling the initiative back from Guardiola’s former club in Group A will not be easy after dropped points at Celtic, a game where the former Chelsea and Wolfsburg schemer’s absence was clearly felt.
With two points the difference in the early standings, the La Liga champions are understandably short at 1/7 to win the group, ahead of their two-game scrap for supremacy against the English club, set at 4/1 to overhaul them currently.
Four points will probably be the target that Guardiola has to set his side, and although that sounds like a very tall order, De Bruyne’s return to the fray certainly gives the Citizens a greater chance given his magical form this season.
We make a draw in Barcelona a 16/5 chance.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing