Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth: Leaders maintain 100 per cent start
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 18/09/16 12:45pm
A rampant Manchester City maintained their 100 per cent start to the season by cruising past Bournemouth 4-0 at the Etihad on Saturday.
The home side led 2-0 at half-time after strikes from the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho, who was once again deputising for the suspended Sergio Aguero.
City wrapped up the points by adding further goals after the break from Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan, who was making his Premier League debut, with their only disappointment being the late red card for Nolito.
However, City - who also recorded their first clean sheet of the campaign - remain top of the table after an eighth successive win in all competitions, an unprecedented feat for the club at the start of a season, while Bournemouth are 16th.
City boss Pep Guardiola handed John Stones a rest, with the England international being joined on the substitutes' bench by club captain Vincent Kompany after his recovery from a long-term groin problem.
Elsewhere, the in-form Aguero was serving the second game of his three-match ban, while as expected David Silva missed out through injury.
Gundogan, though, was passed fit to take his place in central midfield, where the German came face to face with Jack Wilshere, making his first start since joining Bournemouth on loan from Arsenal in place of Callum Wilson.
Other than that, the visitors kept the same team that beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at home last weekend, when Wilson scored the winner, although right from the kick-off it became clear a far more exacting afternoon was in store for them as De Bruyne tested Artur Boruc with a stinging drive.
It was not long, though, before City did open the scoring on the quarter-hour mark and Wilshere will not be happy with his part in the goal after the midfielder first lost possession of the ball to Fernandinho, before then bringing down Nolito on the edge of the box.
De Bruyne made Wilshere pay by drilling the resulting free kick low through Bournemouth's wall, who did not help themselves by jumping up to block what they thought would be an aerial shot from the Belgian, and leaving Boruc helpless as a result.
Wilshere very nearly cost his team another goal minutes later after again gifting up possession on the halfway line, only for Boruc to come to his rescue by keeping out Nolito's close-range strike after another blistering City counterattack.
City soon doubled their lead, however, as Bournemouth were caught with too many players upfield following a free kick and within a blink of an eye Nolito's wonderful pass found De Bruyne, who released Sterling, and the England forward then unselfishly put a goal on a plate for Iheanacho.
And that strike after 25 minutes was Iheanacho's 10th in the Premier League from a total of just 14 shots on target from Aguero's increasingly impressive understudy.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe reacted to a chastening first period by introducing Wilson in place for club-record signing Jordan Ibe at the interval, but the change made little difference as City put the game to bed by scoring twice more with a quarter of the contest still to play.
Sterling, looking more and more the player who nearly helped fire Liverpool to the title in 2013-14 season before his big-money move to the Etihad, was the goalscorer three minutes into the second period, although again it was another team effort.
Man-of-the-match De Bruyne was given the freedom of Manchester before picking out Iheanacho's run and the Nigerian's inch-perfect pass across the six-yard box was converted by Sterling in a repeat of City's second goal.
However, City left the best for last with an absolute picture book of a goal after 66 minutes involving the likes of De Bruyne, Gael Clichy and Nolito, before inevitably the former sent Gundogan through on goal and the midfielder made no mistake with a cool side-footed finish past a wrong-footed Boruc.
The visitors, who removed the ineffective Wilshere midway through the second half, were unfortunate not to score a consolation 13 minutes from time when Wilson hit the bar, but by that point the game was over as a contest.
The only blot on City's copybook was Nolito's 86th-minute sending-off for a needless headbutt on Bournemouth right-back Adam Smith, with the Spain international now missing their next three games, including a trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
But that mattered little as Guardiola's side become only the second different team in top-flight history to win their opening five league games in consecutive seasons after Chelsea, who also managed the feat in 2009/10 and the following campaign.
Man City: Bravo (6), Sagna (6), Otamendi (7), Kolarov (7), Clichy (7), Fernandinho (7), Gundogan (7), Sterling (8), De Bruyne (9), Nolito (7), Iheanacho (8)
Subs used: Sane (7), Stones (7), Garcia (7)
Bournemouth: Boruc (7), Adam Smith (6), Francis (6), Cook (6), Daniels (7), Ibe (5), Arter (7), Surman (6), Wilshere (5), Stanislas (6), King (8)
Subs used: Gosling (6), Gradel (6), Wilson (8)
Man of the match: Kevin De Bruyne