THE beauty of Manchester City is their ability to adapt.
If the opposition sets up in a certain way, they have players with the intelligence to function in a manner of different roles.
But the real magician in that City midfield, alongside David Silva, is Kevin De Bruyne.
And he once again showed that against Bournemouth.
In particular, his positional brilliance was evident for their opening goal at the Vitality.
With Oleksandr Zinchenko crossing a ball from the left, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva were all bursting into the box.
De Bruyne, meanwhile, stopped and let Bournemouth’s defence drop deep — picking up a position on the edge of their box unmarked.
Cherries midfielders were too occupied with David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan, leaving a gap between midfield and defence for De Bruyne to occupy.
The ball was pulled back to KDB and eventually it found its way to Aguero, who finished.
The unselfishness of City’s attacking stars, with their movement on and off the ball, gives De Bruyne licence to wander.
And he likes to pick up spaces you simply can’t defend. It is classed as a 4-3-3 but Pep Guardiola’s side set up more like a 4-2-3-1 with De Bruyne filling that No 10 role.
Last season he was dropping deep and using his amazing passing range to great effect, dictating the pace of games.
That’s changed this campaign but the results are similar.
In an ideal world, if you’ve got someone like De Bruyne you would play him deeper when the opposition press you.
But the more possession you have, the higher up the pitch you want him.
There’s not one position he is better deployed in — he can do either superbly. He has the ability to find space wherever he is.
That is what you need in a 4-3-3 — that middle man between midfield and attack. And that’s what City have in abundance with De Bruyne.
You could argue that it’s what Liverpool lack. Although Roberto Firmino does do a similar job in his false nine role, dropping back and creating between the lines with runners beyond.
But for City, they have a ready-made superstar in De Bruyne to fill that position for them.