Kevin De Bruyne scored four goals as Manchester City restored a three-point lead at the Premier League summit with a 5-1 win at Wolves.
The playmaker rattled in a left-footed hat-trick inside the opening 24 minutes and added another on the hour as City demonstrated the firepower they have even before Erling Haaland arrives next season.
City’s victory was also an emphatic response to title rivals Liverpool’s success over Aston Villa the previous night and tightened their grip on the title race with just two games to play.
The De Bruyne show was briefly interrupted by a Leander Dendoncker strike early on but a late Raheem Sterling tap-in ensured they would score five for a second successive game.
With the extra insurance of a goal difference now plus seven better than their Merseyside rivals, City are closing in on their fourth title in five seasons.
The only downside was the loss of Aymeric Laporte in the second half, joining fellow defenders John Stones, Ruben Dias and Kyle Walker on the sidelines.
Having already deployed Fernandinho as a makeshift centre-back and with Nathan Ake having not been fit enough to start, manager Pep Guardiola will anxiously await updates on the Spain international’s condition.
Yet the story of Wednesday evening was all about De Bruyne, although the Belgian offered a nod to the headlines of the day by celebrating one of his goals in the manner of incoming signing Haaland.
Wolves, whose manager Bruno Lage was missing for a second successive game after testing positive for Covid-19, were overrun.
De Bruyne’s International career
De Bruyne was capped by Belgium at under-18, under-19, and under-21 level. He made his debut for the Belgian senior team on 11 August 2010 in an international friendly against Finland in Turku; the game ended in a 1–0 loss for Belgium. Before making his full debut for Belgium’s senior side, De Bruyne was eligible to play for Burundi, his mother’s birthplace.
De Bruyne became a regular member of Belgium’s team during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, where he scored four goals as the Red Devils qualified for their first major tournament in 12 years.
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