Kevin De Bruyne climbs into Premier League’s top five all-time assist providers as Erling Haaland fires again


Kevin de Bruyne became the Premier League’s fifth all-time assist provider with a lovely weighted through ball to Phil Foden against Southampton.

After watching Erling Haaland score a third hat-trick in as many home Premier League games, all eyes were on Southampton as they looked for a way to deal with the Premier League’s top scorer.

The Manchester City striker went into the weekend with twice as many league goals as any other player, while a midweek double against FC Copenhagen took him up to 20 in 13 games for club and country after drawing a blank in the community shield.

That almost became 21 in 14 inside 15 minutes, with a first-time effort cannoning back off Gavin Bazunu’s post, and he eventually got on the scoresheet in the second half.

It isn’t just about keeping Haaland (comparatively) quiet, of course. Bournemouth kept the Norwegian at bay in August but still conceded four, and the likes of Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez had plenty of chances themselves with Saints defenders otherwise occupied before an even more unlikely source – full-back Joao Cancelo – broke the deadlock.

It’s a lose-lose situation for opponents. It takes so much mental energy to stop Haaland, with only one goal for him almost considered a success for a defending side, that it’s practically impossible to do so while also denying his teammates.

Would Phil Foden have had enough space and time to double City’s need if a less dangerous striker was occupying the Southampton back-line? It seems unlikely, and the England international well and truly made the most of the opportunity.

That goal came via a Kevin De Bruyne assist, and the Belgian continues to climb the charts even when Haaland isn’t the man on the receiving end.

The assist was number 95 for De Bruyne in the Premier League and saw the Belgian overtake Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp into the top five.

It also put the 31-year-old on top of the pile for Manchester City assists – overtaking City legend David Silva for top spot.

De Bruyne arrived in the Premier League for a second time in 2015 – he once had a brief and unsuccessful spell at Chelsea earlier in his career.

Upon his re-arrival, the Belgian has enjoyed a much more rewarding spell in the sky blue of City and has taken English football by storm.

Known for his trademark surging runs through midfield and his incredible ability to pick out a pass, De Bruyne has become one of the league’s most feared players.

It is a testament to the success of the Belgian’s time at Manchester City that he has overtaken Bergkamp on the all-time list – a player known all over the world for his brilliance when it came to creating goals.

De Bruyne will also have his sights set on the single season record for assists, 20, and the Belgian is on course to achieve that this season. This record is currently shared by De Bruyne and, another Arsenal icon, Thierry Henry.

The midfielder’s status in Manchester City history has also been strengthened by overtaking Silva on the City list of assists.

Widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s best-ever creators, Silva has been overtaken by his former teammate – despite De Bruyne playing almost 100 less games in the league.

With Frank Lampard sitting on 102 assists and Wayne Rooney with 103, De Bruyne is on course to break into the top three Premier League assist providers by the end of the season.

Ryan Giggs is currently on top of the Premier League all-time assist list with 162 but you can’t rule out De Bruyne from getting close.

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