Everton grabbed a 2-0 victory over Europa League opponents Wolfsburg on Thursday night, as goals from Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas either side of half-time secured the Toffees top spot in Group H with a game to spare.
The German club in fact dominated the game for long spells, with former Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne often at the centre of affairs with an all-action display, but not one of their 38 total shots on goal managed to find the back of the net.
Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Belgian was perhaps the standout player at the Volskwagen Arena, despite compatriot Mirallas putting in a likewise strong showing, with his fine form so far this season shows no signs of slowing down.
|Total Shots||Shots On Target||Total Key Passes||Total Passes||Passing Accuracy||Total Crosses||Accurate Crosses||Total Dribbles||Successful Dribbles||Touches||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
|Kevin De Bruyne||9||1||10||62||82.3%||16||6||2||2||97||2||90|
In 19 total appearances, he trails only in-form Chelsea playmaker Cesc Fabregas in assists across European football, with 12 compared to the Spaniard’s 14, but his numbers are in fact more than the combined total for former teammates Oscar, Eden Hazard and Willian.
First signing for the Blues in January 2012 from Genk for around £7 million, De Bruyne was given few opportunities to impress during his two seasons at Stamford Bridge, featuring in just nine games after spending the 2012-13 campaign on loan at Werder Bremen.
Shipped off back to the Bundesliga last winter for £17 million, the 26-times capped international was a clear victim of Jose Mourinho’s star-studded squad, but the qualities he’s demonstrated since suggest that perhaps he should have been kept around.
Regardless, the situation appears to have worked out for all parties, with his former club performing perfectly fine without him, and the flourishing youngster proving himself one of the top attacking midfielders in German football.