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De Bruyne’s Man City away day struggles reminiscent of Robinho

Lee Gormley | January 4, 2016

De Bruyne loves home comfort

Kevin De Bruyne has looked worth every penny of that club-record £54m Manchester City splashed out on him last summer with his dazzling displays at the Etihad this season, but most, if not all his best outings have come on home soil.

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The potent playmaker has become a fan favourite with the Sky Blues faithful already after his summer switch from Wolfsburg, swiftly asserting himself with an abundance of goals and assists early on in his return to England, where he is 11/10 with Coral to lift the Premier League.

De Bruyne’s creative displays, that the Bundesliga witnessed all of last season, soon began to flow, with October being a particularly productive period as he ensured that the absences of David Silva and Sergio Aguero were not as hurtful as they would have been in previous campaigns.

Away day struggles

Although, five of City’s six encounters in October were fought out on their home patch and, as much as the Belgium international has been sublime at the Etihad, his form on the road has been a distinct contrast. Remind you of anyone?

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Such a wide contrast of form between sensational home performances and underwhelming away outings will be an unwelcome reminder for Citizens fans of former Samba enigma Robinho, who endured somewhat of a similar stutter in his one-and-a-half indifferent City campaigns.

The Brazilian attacker had arrived on the blue half of Manchester as the club’s maiden superstar signing since being pumped full of millions by foreign owners, and was initially a hit after his £33m mega move.

Despite momentarily thinking he had signed for other former suitors Chelsea, Robinho rapidly gifted his new employers with moments of Samba magic, after stating: “On the last day, Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted.”

De Bruyne emulating Robinho’s torrid travels

Once described as a “fantasy footballer” by a commentator following a sumptuous strike against Everton in 2009, Robinho was a class act, but mainly at the Etihad, struggling otherwise on City’s domestic journeys throughout the country.

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In his maiden campaign in sky blue, the former Real Madrid starlet notched up an impressive 15 goals to become the club’s top scorer, but of those strikes, only three came on the road against Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and Everton.

Current attacking star De Bruyne has found himself in the same scenario, only being able to flourish when he has the comfort of home surroundings, having netted four Premier League goals in Manchester and just one on an away trip.

The former Chelsea misfit’s main traits are his creative abilities and they have taken a huge hit during away league games, with an emphatic eight assists made on home turf, as well as 30 chances created, while he hasn’t registered a single set-up on the road yet.

Can De Bruyne avoid second season syndrome?

Robinho looked capable of overturning any misfortune he was having during those entertaining home performances, lighting up the Etihad crowd on many occasions, but his second season saw that City career end haplessly.

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The current Guangzhou Evergrande forward sustained an injury in August 2009 which ruled him out for two months and therefore fell down the pecking order on his return, slotting in an FA Cup goal against Scunthorpe in January 2010 before returning to Santos on loan and eventually switching to AC Milan permanently.

De Bruyne has showcased the same attacking grace as his Brazilian predecessor in front of adoring home fans but it’s the Belgian’s worrying travel sickness that is a cause of concern for Manuel Pellegrini, who’s side are 6/1 favourites to win the FA Cup.

Such struggles to emulate home form on his Premier League away outings ultimately led to Robinho’s City downfall and it’s something current star De Bruyne will need to address swiftly in order to avoid suffering the same fall from grace in Manchester.

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