Pep Guardiola’s men defeated Arsenal 4-1 at the Etihad to close the gap on Mikel Arteta’s side to two points with two games remaining..
Man City’s superstar pairing tore Arsenal apart, with De Bruyne scoring twice and Erling Haaland scoring his 49th goal of the season.
After the game, De Bruyne explained that he had been told to run off Haaland from deeper positions, aiming for the space in behind Arsenal midfielders Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey depending on who was pressing.
He felt it was also difficult for centre-backs Rob Holding and Gabriel, who were unsure whether to track him or stick with Haaland.
“The way Arsenal press the opposition is excellent,” Peacock said.
It’s nearly impossible to play from the back, especially on a goal kick – it’s like a set piece – and we knew we needed to play longer today, so we tried a couple of things in practice.
“I tried to go a little deeper and then run off Erling when he kept the ball, and I think we found that a couple of times.”
“I think we created some chances this way in the first half, and it was important to set the tone.”
“Normally, we play with two number eights, and I believe he [Guardiola] wanted a little more control because of how they press.”
So Gundo [Ilkay Gundogan] would be a double six, and I had to pick my moments more carefully depending on who pressed out of Xhaka and Partey – if Partey was pressing, I would try to go on his back, and the opposite was true for [Rob] Holding and Gabriel.
“[They had to decide whether to go with me or stay with Erling.]”
“I couldn’t find the moments in the first half, and obviously they switched a little bit in the second half,” he said, “but I was a little more free today.”
This season, De Bruyne has nine goals and 27 assists in all competitions.
He has 18 Premier League assists and needs just three more to break the record for most assists in a single season, which he and Thierry Henry share with 20.
Man City’s final seven games include matches against Fulham, West Ham, Leeds, Everton, Chelsea, Brighton, and Brentford.
Guardiola’s team is also aiming for a treble after reaching the FA Cup final, where they will face Manchester United, and the Champions League semi-finals, where they will face Real Madrid.
Leave a Reply