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Map of Kevin De Bruyne’s chance creations

At the time of writing, Kevin De Bruyne has made 14 assists from open play across all competitions in 2019/20. He’s closing in on the record for assists in the Premier League and has racked up an extraordinary 14.83 xA (12.62 coming from the Premier League, where he ranks 1st).

Kevin De Bruyne: Open play chances created map 

As you can see from this map, he has had incredible success by playing the ball across the six-yard box to the back post, after delivering from the right-hand side. He has done this both from a deep position in the right half-space and from a wider position. 64.3% of his assists have come from the right. This demonstrates how effective Pep Guardiola’s tactic of utilising him on the right-hand side of central-midfield has been. The quality of his delivery from these positions has been exceptional and often results in high-value xG chances.

 When his passes have come from central areas there is a clear trend for them being played towards the right-hand-side of the penalty box. These tended to be through balls for Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus or Raheem Sterling to run onto. Surprisingly, only one of these passes ended in an assist though.

 Although Manchester City as a team have had a disappointing season in the Premier League, De Bruyne has been exceptional on an individual level. Only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold can rival him for quantity and quality of chances created. 

There won’t be a professional team in the world that wouldn’t identify De Bruyne’s danger, particularly from wide areas. Unfortunately for them, stopping him is a whole different story.