De Bruyne scored the only goal as Pep Guardiola’s men suffocated Chelsea with their intensity to move six points clear of the holders after seven games.
De Bruyne’s left-footed strike from the edge of the area proved decisive against his former club, to give City a sixth win from seven games and inflict Chelsea‘s second loss of the season.
City boss Pep Guardiola hailed De Bruyne and dedicated the result to full-back Benjamin Mendy, who is recovering from cruciate ligament surgery.
However, the Spaniard refused to get carried away despite comprehensively outplaying last season’s champions.
“The win is the most important thing,” Guardiola said. “In the second half we were much better so big congratulations for the victory and especially the way we played.
“Every press conference and interview I’m so happy with (De Bruyne). He played here and he makes everything happen – he’s prepared to score goal; assists; fights like the most humble guy.
“I’m so happy for him because I know how happy he is.
“It’s three points, to win three points is important. When you play this kind of team it’s not six points.
“Nothing is done in September so hopefully we can win some more. This game is for Benjamin Mendy as well.”