Rio Ferdinand labels Kevin de Bruyne as ‘MAGNIFICENT’ after his stunning first-half goal against Arsenal and follow-up assist as the Gunners see their title hopes dwindle at the Etihad
Pundits have marvelled at Kevin de Bruyne’s goal that opened the scoring in Manchester City’s title-deciding clash against league leaders Arsenal on Wednesday.
The Gunners had sought to press fiercely during the early exchanges at the Etihad and were made to pay for their ambition as De Bruyne opened the scoring after just seven minutes.
A long-pass from Ruben Dias was brought down on the halfway line by the Premier League’s leading goalscorer Erling Haaland.
The striker then rolled the ball into the path of De Bruyne, who ran through Arsenal’s defence before hitting his shot low and hard past Aaron Ramsdale from the edge of the box.
City’s early dominance impressed match commentators in attendance with Rio Ferdinand marvelling at the 31-year-old’s first-half display that saw him follow-up his goal with an assist to John Stones for the game’s second goal.
Kevin de Bruyne (middle) opened the scoring for Manchester City after just seven minutes against Arsenal
De Bruyne (left) rounded off a brilliant solo run with a stunning long-range finish
Analysing De Bruyne’s strike, Ferdinand told BT Sport: ‘It was route one, this Man City side can play in various ways, we have seen them play in beautiful ways, tiki-taka up through the pitch, but if you press them like Arsenal do, they go over that press.
‘Then De Bruyne who has been magnificent runs off Partey and from that point on controls the situation.
‘There are three or four defenders around him, not really any resistance, the two centre-halves have been run ragged in the first half,’ he added.
The former Manchester United defender further glamorised the midfielder’s talents, insisting De Bruyne always produced in big moments for Guardiola’s side.
‘De Bruyne again, 25 assists, best in a season, he has been phenomenal.
‘When you look for big moments in a season this guy has come up so many times in the past and done it again today,’ he added.
Ferdinand’s comments were backed up by previous title-winning Arsenal duo Martin Keown and Patrick Vieira who were also working on BT Sport’s coverage.
Ex-Gunners captain Vieira added: De Bruyne has really caused a lot of problems.
‘Running in channels and behind the back four, this first-half Arsenal’s defence lacked aggressiveness and De Bruyne had it a bit too easy.’
Keown blamed Arsenal’s ineffective defence, adding: ‘[Rob] Holding there has to at least make a foul and be more physical, De Bruyne’s movement is magnificent.
‘Talk about top players coming to the fore, he is running the show. He made the difference at the Emirates and is doing the same tonight.’