Manchester City 4 AFC Bournemouth 0 - De Bruyne shines once again as City maintain perfect start

By Ric Turner, Mon 19 September 2016 11:31

Manchester City 4 AFC Bournemouth 0 - De Bruyne shines once again as City maintain perfect startGuardiola's side make it eight wins out of eight

FA Premier League
Saturday 17 September 2016, 15.00 KO

City: Bravo, Sagna, Otamendi (Stones 52), Kolarov, Clichy, Fernandinho, Gundogan (Sane 72), De Bruyne (Garcia 75), Nolito, Sterling, Iheanacho
Unused: Caballero, Kompany, Zabaleta, Navas
Goals: De Bruyne (15), Iheanacho (25), Sterling (48), Gundogan (66)

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Man of the match: De Bruyne

City's hugely impressive start to the season continued at The Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Bournemouth the latest team to blown away by Pep Guardiola's side. City started brightly once again, and could have taken the lead within ten seconds, but Kevin De Bruyne saw his shot well saved by Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth goal.

The Blues had made three changes from the starting XI that had defeated Borussia Monchengladbach so comprehensively in midweek, with Gael Clichy, Nolito and Kelechi Iheanacho coming in for Pablo Zabaleta, Jesus Navas and the suspended Sergio Aguero. The personnel changes mattered little, as the crowd of 54,335 were served up another sublime performance on a sunny day in East Manchester. Guardiola later claimed that Bournemouth were the best team that City have faced so far, but that seemed a little disingenuous given the relative ease with which his side dismantled their opponents.

As at Old Trafford last weekend, Kevin De Bruyne was at the heart of City's best moves. The Belgian playmaker had started the season relatively slowly by his own high standards, possibly due to the rigours of the European Championships or simply as he adapted to a new role under Guardiola, but has now produced three exceptional performances in the space of seven days and appears back to his very best. After the game his manager stated that De Bruyne is one of the most gifted players he has ever coached: "Messi is on a table on his own. No-one else is allowed. But the table beside, Kevin can sit there", said Guardiola.

It was De Bruyne who gave City the lead after 15 minutes, when his cleverly disguised free kick crept under the Bournemouth wall and deceived Boruc. He then turned provider for City's second, as the Blues hit their visitors with a devastating counter attack. Aleksandar Kolarov headed a Bournemouth free kick to Nolito, whose quick pass set De Bruyne free. His perfectly weighted pass found Raheem Sterling in the box, and the England winger unselfishly teed up Kelechi Iheanacho to double City's lead. The young Nigerian has now scored ten goals in the Premier League from just fourteen shots, a quite staggering statistic.

At the start of the second half Iheanacho returned the favour. De Bruyne was once again involved, and Sterling had the simple task of rolling Iheanacho's cross into an empty net. Bournemouth, to their credit, continued trying to play their passing game, but were simply outdone by a superior team. Jack Wilshere, making his debut after joining on loan from Arsenal, had little impact on the game and was replaced after 68 minutes by Dan Gosling.

By this time the visitors were four goals behind, with Ilkay Gundogan rounding off another superb City move by finishing calmly past Boruc. The only blot on City's performance came when Nolito was needlessly sent off with minutes remaining, after appearing to throw a head butt in the direction of Adam Smith. It was an act of petulance from the Spaniard who will serve a three game suspension, but with David Silva and Sergio Aguero to come back in City are well covered in attacking areas.

This victory made it eights wins out of eight for Guardiola since taking over, but the manager has insisted he won't allow his players to become complacent.

“That's not going to happen," he said. "I’m not going to accept that it is easy because we work hard to play this well.

“Bournemouth are the best team we have played in our five matches, so I am very pleased.

“We will lose games and we will make mistakes, but this is a process.”