The Belgian curled a stunning effort into the bottom right corner from 25-yards in the 70th minute to send City 13 points clear of the second-placed Chelsea. This was Manchester City’s 12th consecutive league victory this season and helped them open a big gap at the top of the standings.
De Bruyne’s coal sealed a deserved win for Pep Guardiola’s men, who controlled a tight contest from the first minute and might have won by a bigger margin but for a brilliant save by Chelsea custodian Kepa Arrizabalaga to deny Jack Grealish in the first half.
Romelu Lukaku forced a superb save from Ederson at the other end with the scores goalless, but the Belgian striker cut an isolated figure for much of the afternoon as Chelsea set up to contain and rarely troubled the hosts on the counter-attack.
The stoic defense put up by Thomas Tuchel’s men frustrated the defending champions for long periods, but their efforts were undone by De Bruyne’s brilliance. The Belgian midfielde’ rode N’Golo Kante’s effort before arcing a sumptuous strike beyond Kepa to provide a significant boost to Manchester City’s Premier League title aspirations.
After 70 minutes of goalless action and with Chelsea’s well-organized, stubborn defence continuing to keep City at bay, it felt as if Guardiola’s side needed a moment of inspiration.
De Bruyne duly obliged to reinforce his status as a world-class match-winner.
Chelsea had chances to take something from the game, with Ederson making a fine save from Romelu Lukaku and both Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso later firing over, but ultimately City were too str’ng for Tuchel’s Blues on what was the 50th Premier League meeting between the two sides.
The Blues started the day a point ahead of third-placed Liverpool but having played more games, with Juergen Klopp’s side looking to leapfrog up into the second when they face Brentford on Sunday.
Tuchel’s side will be back in Premier League action on Tuesday when it travels to Brighton looking to quickly get back to winning ways.