Kevin de Bruyne again proves what we already know about Pep Guardiola’s Man City

(Image: Getty Images)

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It is not over, of course.

It is a testimony to City’s mighty excellence that most people say it IS over but that is mildly insulting to teams of the calibre of Liverpool and Chelsea.

Liverpool are 14 points adrift but have two games in hand and an April visit to the Etihad to look forward to.

But even if Liverpool win all their remaining matches, City would still have to drop five points against other teams and that is something that they are looking increasingly unlikely to do.

They have become robotically brilliant.

De Bruyne’s wonderful goal was as spectacular as this intricate game got.

Yet it will be the sort of win that Guardiola will enjoy far more than the plenty-nil jobs that heavily populate his Premier League record.

Two single-goal victories against Thomas Tuchel? Now, that is the sort of stuff these super-coaches savour.

Two clean sheets against a co-member of the elite? They are marks of champions.

City restricted Chelsea to one shot on target and have now conceded only 13 goals in 22 games.

What chance have the others got when City are even rubbing out the defensive ricks that have occasionally struck in the Guardiola era?

Answer: No chance.

They were not even at their best here and the £100million man is still trying to find his feet.

You do not become a Pep player overnight but Jack Grealish has had six months. Perhaps it will take a season.

He got a decent 90 minutes against Chelsea and was probably more effective in Guardiola’s eyes than he was in the layman’s.

Too often, it looks like he is taking the safe option. If not safe, he takes the less risky one, presumably fearful of giving away the possession so treasured by Guardiola.

But the irony is that Guardiola loves risk-takers, loves someone who can take men out of the game. That is why he likes Raheem Sterling so much.

Grealish probably just needs a shot of confidence, the sort of boost he would have got had he converted the best chance of the first half.

It was not a shocking miss, it was a decent save from Kepa. But there was a slight shortage of conviction in the attempt.

Grealish is toiling proof that an extravagant transfer fee does not guarantee excellence.

As was Romelu Lukaku here.

It is fair to say that those who like to categorise the Belgian striker as some sort of flat track bully have another shred of evidence for their case, although he was responsible for that one shot on target and it was a decent save from Ederson.

But his attempt was not as composed as his countryman’s, De Bruyne settling the issue with twenty minutes to go.

It earned three points and it earned him the man of the match award.

But once again, the man of the match award belonged to the collective, belonged to a group of players that is becoming one of the most formidable units in the history of English club football.

And De Bruyne just happens to be its leader.