Kevin De Bruyne has scored a goal in each of his last two Premier League games and put himself firmly on the radar of fantasy managers. His price went up the night before Manchester City’s Gameweek 5 match and again two days later to reach 10.7m. At the time of writing, the Belgian has more than 250,000 transfers in this week and is heading toward potentially becoming the first player to have a triple price rise in one gameweek this season.
Looking at De Bruyne’s statistics, please note there is disagreement regarding how many assists he has tallied this season. The Fantasy Premier League credits him with setting up a team mate to score against Manchester United, while FourFourTwo Stats Zone does not. I have used the lower figure, but please make you own mental adjustment if you agree with the FPL that he has four.
I would argue De Bruyne’s primary asset is his creativity. He is joint best in the Premier League for chances created this season and joint best for assists so far. He is the only player to top both metrics. I was able to watch Manchester City dismantle Bournemouth and De Bruyne’s interplay with Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho was at the heart of that performance.
For his goal in that game, De Bruyne beat Cherries goalkeeper Artur Boruc with a cheeky free kick that slid under the wall, but the Citizens midfielder isn’t reliant on set plays to score. Where he does have a weakness is in his preference to shoot from distance. It may have worked against Bournemouth, but generally shots from outside the area tend to be converted far less frequently than those hit from closer range.
Already this season De Bruyne is repeating a pattern from last season of having hit more shots on target than he has fired shots from inside the box. While he undoubtedly appears accurate, having tested the goalkeeper with about half of his shots this season and last, the distance factor probably helps explain a shots on target conversion rate languishing at 27 per cent over the same period.
Despite the continued low conversion rate, there is a positive sign that suggests the Belgian midfielder could increase his goal output. Five gameweeks is not a large sample size, but the former Wolfsburg player has increased his shooting frequency dramatically in that period, upping his shots per 90 minutes by 71 per cent from the 2015-16 season. The opening schedule was fairly favourable to Manchester City (SUN, stk, WHU, mun, BOU), but if De Bruyne can maintain his higher shooting frequency he could reach double figures for goals this season.