Man City's De Bruyne shows why he is peerless in the EPL
Consistent Belgian shows just why he is the most influential player in English top flight
Obsession is both Kevin de Bruyne's greatest strength and weakness.
Even with Manchester City already coasting to their first final of the season against Bristol City yesterday morning (Singapore time), the Belgian refused to take his foot off the gas.
Leading 4-3 on aggregate in the final moments of their League Cup semi-final second leg, Pep Guardiola's side would not have begrudged their hosts the solace of a 2-2 scoreline on the night.
De Bruyne, however, is relentless in his pursuit of winning beyond all reasonable doubt.
A lung-busting run saw him meet Leroy Sane's cut-back to deliver the last act of the game, and shows just why the one-time Chelsea misfit continues to hold all the cards in the English Premier League.
Across both legs against the Robins, the 26-year-old also demonstrated how he remains the most influential figure in the English top flight despite Alexis Sanchez's arrival at Manchester United this week.
Old Trafford may have won the PR battle with a No. 7 finally capable of assuming the mantle of George Best, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, but it is City who made the greater statement in confirming de Bruyne's commitment on a new five-year contract.
Beating their local rivals to the punch on grand announcements by a matter of minutes may have lent itself to the "typical City" era of blue ketchup and strategically positioned billboards.
Yet once again, United find themselves unable to break their local rivals' grip of dominance.
Jose Mourinho is naive in believing that Sanchez's capture represents a game-changer for United in next season's EPL title race.
This is not 2012/13 revisited; a 29-year-old attacker from Arsenal will not galvanise the Red Devils to steal City's crown a second time around.
Throughout the EPL, no other player appears capable of consistently matching Kevin de Bruyne’s brilliance.Richard Buxton
Although the Chilean will invariably flourish, he also faces an uphill battle in meeting the at-times unrealistic demands of Mourinho, which are probably rivalled only by the yearning of the Old Trafford crowd after over six months of coasting through his swansong at the Emirates Stadium.
It is why, in part, Guardiola chose City's collective harmony over pursuing an eye-watering financial package for his former Barcelona ally.
He also knows that Sanchez cannot even lay a glove on the marked progress that de Bruyne has shown under his tutelage.
Sanchez is not an exception, either.
Throughout the EPL, no other player appears capable of consistently matching de Bruyne's brilliance.
Mohamed Salah's Midas touch eluded him in Liverpool's defeat by Swansea City on Tuesday morning. Harry Kane's goalscoring exploits remain burdened by a Tottenham side which are yet to prove themselves as more than perennial nearly men.
De Bruyne, meanwhile, continues to improve both creatively as well as physically.
His precision pass for Sergio Aguero for City's second at Ashton Gate was his 14th assist of the season in all competitions - more than any other player in the English top flight.
Such attributes would ordinarily put him on the pantheon among the world's greatest players.
His sole misfortune has been emerging at a time when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have already had a stranglehold on the game's personal accolades.
But de Bruyne looks destined to join them on that top table, sooner rather than later.