City arrived at Stamford Bridge with a weakened squad due to a number of positive Covid-19 cases.
It means De Bruyne had to start as the furthest forward and despite it being an unfamiliar position, he flourished.
The Belgian international registered an assist and got on the scoresheet as Pep Guardiola's side ran out comfortable winners.
Pundits have pointed out Fernandes is a bigger goal threat. Friendly competition?
While De Bruyne didn't look out of place leading the attack, he admitted it felt strange at first.
He told Sky Sports per Goal: "Bit bizarre in the beginning, I've done it a few times in my career obviously we have a lot of forwards out and the coach asked me to do this job, so I tried my best to do it as good as possible."
"I think after five or 10 minutes we found our rhythm - the beginning was a bit lacking and I was in a bit of a different role today but after that we played very well," De Bruyne continued.
"We took our chances at the right time and defensively were solid for 90 minutes. It's a shame we conceded that goal in the last minute.
"We have different players so we play different this year so we have adjusted to our personnel, but the team is finding more rhythm in the last month we are playing better.
"When we had chances today we took them and leading 3-0 at half-time meant we could play more realistic in the second half."
Roy Keane provided punditry on Sky Sports and he admitted De Bruyne is a special player.
"World-class, he's world-class and what we saw today with him, his football intelligence, obviously playing a different role to what he's used to, but just finding space, his decision-making," the Irishman explained per Manchester Evening News.
"I think he's been off it a little bit this season, I don't think he's been at his best, but I think today we saw the best of him. He's gone back to Chelsea, he wants to impress there despite the fact that he's gone onto great things."
All three of the away side's goals came in the first half, with Ilkay Gundogan opening the scoring with a lovely turn and finish.
Manchester City dazzled with a first-half flurry to beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, leaving Frank Lampard's side with just one win in six Premier League games.- Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 3, 2021
Watch highlights here :arrow_down:
Phil Foden lobbed Edouard Mendy for a second before De Bruyne added a third, after Raheem Sterling hit the post.
Featured Image Credit: @HMDComps/Twitter
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