Kevin De Bruyne's hat-trick goal at Wolves may have been unstoppable from the moment it left his weaker foot but it did bring to an end an astonishing sequence for the Belgian superstar.
That strike was his first in 10 that hadn't given Manchester City the lead in a game. Twice at Molineux his goals put City in front, as he did against Real Madrid, and Liverpool, and Atletico, and Burnley, and Southampton, and United, and United again.
Of the last 16 times City have taken the lead in a game, more than half have been through their talismanic playmaker. Capturing all of the headlines the day after the arrival of Erling Haaland was announced was a useful reminder to all of just how important De Bruyne has been to Pep Guardiola this season specifically.
It is no exaggeration to think City would not be ahead of Liverpool without his goals, and his form over the second half of the campaign shows why - whatever the awards say - he has probably been the outstanding player at the Etihad and in the division for the 2021/22 campaign. Also read:Foden wants Man City teammates to pause Erling Haaland excitement Guardiola described De Bruyne's second half of the season as 'beyond perfect' following his four goals at Molineux and his statistics are striking: before Boxing Day, the only opening goal of a game he had scored was against Wycombe Wanderers; after two goals from his first 13 starts of the season, since the Leicester game on December 26 he has 17 from 24.Read more on manchestereveningnews.co.uk