Published on April 15th, 2016 | by Daniel Cheeseman0
Chelsea v City: De Bruyne v Hazard, Oscar, Pedro & Willian
Kevin De Bruyne returns to Stamford Bridge this weekend for the first time since leaving Chelsea in 2014, where he then joined Wolfsburg in a £23 million deal after the then Blues manager, Jose Mourinho, deemed the Belgian surplus to requirements.
Following an unhappy two years at Chelsea, De Bruyne rebuilt his career in the Bundesliga at Wolfsburg, before joining Manchester City last summer in a £51 million deal.
On Tuesday night, De Bruyne proved his worth and was instrumental in Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final victory against Paris Saint-Germain, scoring the only goal of the game.
Since recovering from a serious knee injury, which kept the Belgian out of action for two months, De Bruyne has returned with 3 goals in 4 games (all competitions), including two crucial strikes against Paris. His absence during February and March coincided with City falling off the pace in the Premier League, a clear indication of the importance De Bruyne now plays at the club.
Oulala Games’ ever reliant stats team have taken a look at how De Bruyne has compared to 4 of Chelsea’s current attacking midfielders in the Premier League this season – Eden Hazard, Oscar, Pedro and Willian. While Willian has arguably been the Blues only consistent performer this campaign, even the Brazilian has struggled to keep up with De Bruyne.
In all six of the key attacking stats analysed, the Belgian leads in every area, highlighting how big a mistake Chelsea made allowing De Bruyne to leave two years ago.
Creatively, he has made more key passes per game (2.9) than all four Chelsea players. He has also created more chances per game (3.3) and in turn, has registered more assists (9), despite playing fewer games (21).
In front of goal, De Bruyne has again outperformed the Chelsea foursome. He has enjoyed a superior shot accuracy (63 per cent), a better conversion rate (16 per cent) and has scored more goals than Hazard, Oscar and Willian. Only Pedro can match De Bruyne’s six strikes.
It has been nothing short of a nightmare season at Chelsea. Struggling to stay inside the top half of the table and parting company with Jose Mourinho midway through the campaign, a former player turning up in red-hot form is all Guus Hiddink’s side need at this stage as they look to see the season out in a quiet fashion.
Can Kevin De Bruyne mount further misery on the Blues this weekend in what has been a season Chelsea would prefer to forget ever existed?